Charles Bassey
BOWLING GREEN, KY – JANUARY 21: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers center Charles Bassey (23) blocks the shot of Marshall Thundering Herd guard Jon Elmore (33) during a college basketball game between the Marshall Thundering Herd and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, January 21, 2019 at E. A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, KY (Photo by Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire)

WKU Hilltopper Basketball freshman center Charles Bassey has been named 1 of 10 candidates for the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, as announced Friday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its fifth year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball. A national committee comprising top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 21 candidates in October, which has now been narrowed to just 10.

Bassey – a 6-foot-11, 245-pound native of Lagos, Nigeria – is averaging 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks this season while shooting 63.1 percent from the field.

Western Kentucky University
Courtesy WKU Athletics

He leads Conference USA in both rebounding and double-doubles (12). The big man is 1 of 2 freshmen in the country averaging a double-double.

Bassey ranks in the top 40 in the country in double-doubles, field-goal percentage, blocks per game, total blocks, rebounds per game, offensive rebounds per game, defensive rebounds per game and total rebounds.

He’s 1 of 2 freshmen on the list of candidates, along with UCLA’s Moses Brown.

In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday, April 12, along with the other four members of the Naismith Starting 5.

Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).

For more information and the latest updates on the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, log onto and follow @hoophall and #KareemAward on Twitter and Instagram.

2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Candidates

Daniel Gafford, Arkansas

Nick Perkins, Buffalo

Nico Carvacho, Colorado St.

Jessie Govan, Georgetown

Bruno Fernando, Maryland

Nick Ward, Michigan St.

Moses Brown, UCLA

Charles Bassey, WKU

Nathan Knight, William & Mary

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

How to follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Basketball, follow the team’s social media channels, @WKUBasketball on Twitter, @WKUBasketball on Instagram, and WKU Basketball on Facebook.



Zach Greenwell

Associate Director

WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations


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