INDIANAPOLIS — WKU Hilltopper Basketball sophomore center Charles Bassey has been selected for the watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, as announced Thursday 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.
Bassey – a 6-foot-11, 230-pound native of Lagos, Nigeria – has 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.
The 2019-20 Oscar Robertson Trophy will be presented at the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta in April. The winner will be also be honored at the annual USBWA Awards Luncheon at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis on Monday, April 13.
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.
The USBWA formally expanded its All-America team to 15 players in 2019 and many of the players on this watch list will contend for All-America honors. In addition, the USBWA continues to name an Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week each Tuesday.
Bassey has already been named a Preseason First-Team All-American by both Lindy's Sports Magazine and Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook.
He leads 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 has 143 points, 86 rebounds, 15 blocks and eight steals this season. As of Thursday, 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 has also 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.
Bassey and the Hilltoppers host undefeated SEC foe Arkansas at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.