The Film Room is starting to heat up again. This time we are taking a look at one of the most productive big men prospects in college basketball last year. Allow me to introduce you to Charles Bassey. The 6'11" big man was terrorizing opposing teams while playing for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers this year. Bassey was one of the top prospects out of high school back in 2018 (18th in ESPN100) before shocking the basketball world and committing to play for WKU. Bassey would go on to put up some big numbers for the Hilltoppers in his freshman year, averaging 14.6 PTS, 10.6 REB, and 2.4 BLK. But scouts still had plenty of concerns about his impact at the NBA level. Bassey decided to return to WKU for another year of seasoning before suffering a fracture in his left leg that would force Bassey to miss the remainder of the season and Bassey would officially "red-shirt" his sophomore year.
It looked like a thought situation for the athletic big man. Scouts were questioning how Bassey would come back from the injury and what type of player he would turn into. But Bassey heard the noise and went to work. Bassey returned for this year and came back in fantastic shape, showing an ability to dominate both sides of the ball with his explosiveness and lower body strength. While some might point out that Bassey was dominating at a lower level while playing in the CUSA...there's still no denying his ability to look like a man amongst boys on the floor. The hard work paid off for the big fella, as he would finish this year averaging 17.6 PTS, 11.6 REB, and 3.1 BLK while shooting 59.0% from the field and 30.5% from three. In a draft class that possesses some bigs who will be tagged with untapped potential, Bassey will hang his hat on his productivity and ability to impact the ball on both sides of the floor at a high level.
FLOOR SPACING POTENTIAL
This is the type of sequences that NBA scouts and evaluators are going to circle when it comes to projecting Charles Bassey as a potential NBA prospect. Bassey has shown the ability to space the floor with his outside shooting and he has some sneaky range to his game as well. While Bassey spent most of his time within the Hilltoppers offense as a post-up option (92nd percentile via Synergy) there's plenty of room to believe that he could be an enticing P&R option at the next level.
RUNNING THE FLOOR
Love to see this from any type of big man prospect when it comes to evaluating a player for the NBA draft. The defensive rebound is secured now get out and RUN. Look at the burst from Bassey immediately, he hits the turbo button and gets ahead of his man, running the floor properly and he gets rewarded for it. Bassey shows us he still has PLENTY of explosiveness here with an emphatic slam.
This is the type of sequence that will gain your attention in a hurry. Bassey has so much burst and raw power still in his lower frame and it jumps out on tape. Great job of protecting the rim on the defensive side of the ball and then Bassey does a great job of running his lane under control. Plenty of times on tape, you'll see that Bassey just simply overpowers his defenders and won't be denied positioning on his way to the bucket. He gives the extra effort and isn't afraid to put in extra work to give him the best chance at success.
Another impressive sequence on both sides of the floor here from the big fella but this one is a great example of the type of pure explosiveness Bassey has in his game. He's frequently a lob threat whenever he gets his feet in the paint and he's going to be a potential lob monster with his length and power. Great job of attacking the ball at the highest point on the defensive glass and then it's off to the races before a powerful slam.
Great clip here that takes a look at the pure lower body strength that Bassey has. Remember earlier when I talked about how Bassey understands the importance of creating ideal positioning? This is exactly what I'm talking about. Bassey runs the floor and goes right into his man to use his strength in order to create the best opportunity for success. The defender didn't know what the heck hit him. All it takes from there is soft hands and Bassey has an easy two.
If you're a big man prospect for the NBA, teams are going to want to see if you have good footwork and reliable hands. This play stood out to me because it's a tough catch that a lot of young bigs might have fumbled. You have to have some soft hands in order to catch this pass from such a short distance. Bassey does that and shows us how quickly he can explode for this monster slam.
Nothing fancy here but you can see the potential range that Bassey has in his game. He gives off some serious LaMarcus Aldridge vibes with his shooting form from outside and he's not afraid to shoot the rock and make defenses respect him from outside.
This is an area in which I believe teams are going to want to get their hands all over Bassey moving forward. There's some serious potential for him to be an asset at the NBA level as an imposing shot-blocking threat. Bassey has great instincts and anticipation when it comes to a rim protector. Those are both critical attributes to have and they cannot be overstated. Although Bassey will reject so many shots with such power, notice the timing in which he explodes towards the ball. Most shot blockers will get antsy, which will lead to them being in foul trouble. Bassey understands that he has the size, power, and length to demonstrate some patience. A detail I love about this play, look where Bassey is when he realizes it's going to be an offensive rebound, and look how quickly he reacts to coming across the lane for help.
Another great example here of Bassey's ability to impact the defensive side of the ball with his presence as a shot blocker. One of the things that I love about shot blockers is when they are able to utilize both hands depending on the angle of the play. You'll notice that Bassey has plenty of emphatic rejections with his left hand as well, and he will in fact have possessions in which he blocks multiple shots with each hand. Bassey does a great job of reading this sequence and waits for the last possible moment before helping for this block.
DEFENSIVE ANCHOR PART II
Charles Bassey has some blocks in which he tries to reject a shot into a dark dimension. Here's a great example of one of those plays against Alabama. Great job of the big fella to constantly keep his feet moving as the ball moves and Bassey knows he has a juicy rejection coming up on this floater.
Think this is an important sequence to point out, as it shows the type of defensive awareness that Bassey has in his arsenal. First play of the game here for West Virginia, and you'll notice that Bassey's teammate gets caught on the back pick here. Bassey quickly reacts and makes a beautiful rejection on the other side of the rim to prevent the reverse lay-up.
In a draft class that has plenty of firepower when it comes to wings, the big men are going to be an underrated storyline. There's plenty of athletic products that have some serious untapped potential to their games with players such as Kai Jones (Texas), Usman Garuba (Real Madrid), and Isaiah Jackson (Kentucky). But don't sleep on Western Kentucky's Charles Bassey as a player who could entice teams. Bassey has the production to show that he can make an impact on both sides of the floor at the next level. As is the case with so many prospects, the overall fit with his next team will be crucial.