Former Hilltopper Bassey selected by Philadelphia 76ers in 2021 NBA Draft


Credit: WKU Athletics

WKU sophomore center guard Charles Bassey smiles during the exhibition basketball game between Kentucky State and WKU in Diddle Arena on November 2, 2019. WKU won 85-45.

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Charles Bassey started his basketball career in Lagos, Nigeria and played his collegiate ball all the way over in Bowling Green, Kentucky, becoming a WKU fan-favorite along the way. The imposing 6-foot-11 center will now take the next step of his professional basketball journey in Philadelphia as a member of the Sixers.

Bassey was selected with the 53rd pick late in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night, joining a roster that went 49-23 during the 2020-21 season, reaching the Eastern Conference Semifinals with coach Doc Rivers at the helm. Bassey will slot in among stars such as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and will bring his physical and electric brand of basketball to the city of brotherly love.

Bassey’s selection breaks an 11-year drought for the WKU Men’s Basketball program. The last Hilltopper to be selected in the NBA draft was Jeremy Evans, who was picked 55th overall by the Utah Jazz in 2010. Bassey joins a list of notable pro Hilltoppers that includes the aforementioned Evans as well as Courtney Lee (Orlando Magic, 2008), Greg Smith (Milwaukee Bucks, 1968) and Clem Haskins (Chicago Bulls, 1976).

The Hilltopper star leaves his name all over WKU’s record books, ranking first all-time in total field-goal percentage (.596), second all-time in defensive rebounds (538), eighth in offensive rebounds (219), tied for fourth in blocks (184) and helped lead the Hilltoppers to a pair of C-USA championship game appearances. He was named the 2020-21 C-USA Player of the Year, was a two-time All-C-USA selection and the 2018-19 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year during his freshman campaign. Despite a tibial plateau fracture that derailed much of his second season on the Hill, Bassey leaves for the NBA having averaged 15.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game during his collegiate career.

Fans who had the chance to attend packed home games in E.A Diddle Arena and watch Bassey dominate opponents in the paint with thunderous dunks know quite well just how talented a player the Sixers are getting.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.