WKU Preseason All-American Bassey undergoes season-ending surgery
By Zach Greenwell

Posted on December 10, 2019 8:48 PM


During the second half of Saturday’s win over Arkansas, WKU Hilltopper Basketball sophomore center Charles Bassey suffered a left knee injury.  

A CT scan, X-ray and MRI revealed a tibial plateau fracture that required season-ending surgery.

Bassey underwent successful surgery Tuesday morning in Houston to repair it.The result of the surgery was very positive and exceeded expectations. The bone was repaired successfully, and all ligaments were found to be stable.

Charles is expected to make a full recovery within the next nine months under the guidance of his physicians and medical staff in both Houston and Bowling Green.

A few days earlier,Bassey had been selected for the watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, as announced by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.Bassey is one of 46 members of the watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, presented annually to the men’s national player of the year.

Since its founding in 1956, the USBWA has named a national player of the year. In the 1997-98 season, the award was named in honor of the legendary Oscar Robertson, "The Big O." In addition, the USBWA selects an All-America team and All-District teams, players and coaches of the year.

The full watch list can be found at the following link: https://goto.ps/38ccRHx 

Bassey – a 6-foot-11, 230-pound native of Lagos, Nigeria – had already been named to the preseason watch lists for two other men’s national player of the year awards, the Naismith Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award.

While all Division I players are eligible for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the USBWA board has chosen the players on the watch list to promote the award and give the membership, which votes on all USBWA awards, an early look at some of the best players in the country. In January, the USBWA will release a second watch list, followed by finalists after All-America balloting is complete in March. Last season, Duke's Zion Williamson was the recipient of both the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Wayman Tisdale Award.

Bassey had been named a Preseason First-Team All-American by both Lindy's Sports Magazine and Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook.

Going into the Arkansas game, Basset led WKU this season with averages of 15.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 52.5 percent from the field.

Bassey had 143 points, 86 rebounds, 15 blocks and eight steals this season. He was the only player in the nation with at least those numbers.

Last year, the big man became just the second freshmen in the country since 1992 – along with current NBA star Anthony Davis – to average at least 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while shooting at least 60 percent overall.

Bassey was named a Freshman All-American and became the second player in Conference USA history to win both C-USA Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. He was also named to the All-C-USA First Team, All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team.

Bassey had been named one of 20 national watch list members for the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, given annually to the nation's top center. He was a top-five finalist for the award as a freshman.

He was one of 50 national watch list members for the 2020 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy's, as announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for some of the most elite honors in college basketball, the Wooden Award All American Team and Most Outstanding Player Award.

The full watch list can be found at the following link: https://goto.ps/2NiKGyd

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is given to the nation's best Division I basketball player who has proven to his or her university that he or she meets or exceeds the qualifications of the John R. Wooden Award as set forth by Coach Wooden and the Wooden Award Steering Committee, including making progress towards graduation and maintaining at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97) and Kevin Durant ('07).

The 6-foot-11, 230-pound center averaged 14.6 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in his first season for the Hilltoppers in 2018-19 while shooting 62.7 percent from the field. He led Conference USA in double-doubles (17) and ranked in the top 30 nationally in double-doubles, field-goal percentage, blocks per game, total blocks, rebounds per game, defensive rebounds per game and total rebounds while competing as one of the top-10 youngest players in the country. 

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