After a disappointing season according to most WKU fans, some questions remain around the program after a (20-14) season and a 6th straight season without an NCAA tournament bid.
Will Charles Bassey Stay Or Will He Go?
I think the number one question for WKU basketball this off season is whether or not Charles Bassey will pursue a NBA career.
Many outlets had Charles as a Top 10 pick coming into the season. But, after a season where Bassey posted stats of, 14.6 ppg, 10 rpg, & 2.4 bpg Bassey has slid down many draft boards.
As of recent, Jeremy Woo of SI.com has Bassey as the #40 overall NBA prospect in the 2019 NBA draft. You can find that article here.
Charles could stay and try and improve his draft stock in 2020 and risk injury or forgo his college eligibility and hire an agent and enter the 2019 NBA draft. There is a chance enters his name into the NBA draft but does not hire an agent and returns for the 2020 season.
Will Rick Stansbury Leave?
Let me be the first to say I do not think Stansbury will leave WKU for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, his name will be floated around in HC vacancies around the country.
Texas A&M: With the recent firing of Billy Kennedy at Texas A&M look for Stansbury’s name to be rumored their most. Having served on the Texas A&M coaching staff from (2014-2015) as assistant coach and from (2015-2016) as associate head coach. With Stansbury’s ties to Texas A&M IF he did leave I believe this is the most likely destination.
LSU: Stansbury has no known ties to LSU but he does have head coaching experience in the SEC. His name was rumored in the mix for the Head Coaching job in 2017 when LSU hired Will Wade. Now with the most recent FBI scandal involving Will Wade and Javonte Smart it would not surprise me to see those rumors resurface in 2019.
Will Anyone Transfer Out?
With the scene in college basketball today, and the transfer portal, college athletics now has a summer free agency. With WKU losing only one player from its 2018-2019 roster as we know right now the question becomes, Will anyone else leave? I’m not going to speculate on this but it would not surprise me to lose at least one player from this years roster just given the day in age of college basketball.
March Madness is here which means it’s time to fill out a bracket, ignore life’s responsibilities, kick back and enjoy college basketball.
This year we are hosting a Bracket challenge on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge. The winner of the Bracket Challenge will win a $20 Gift Card From Mister B’s. You can visit them at 1945 Scottsville Road in Bowling Green. Or online at Mister B’s
1.Your bracket name should be your FIRST & LAST NAME or Your Twitter @ Handle. If your bracket name is not one of the two mentioned above you will disqualified.
Last night, WKU faced off for the Conference USA Championship against the Monarchs of Old Dominion. It was a very tough game, but unfortunately we did not come out on top (losing 56-62). This means Old Dominion will move on to play in the NCAA tournament, which will be displayed this evening. As for WKU, there are some big takeaways from this game.
Awareness & Turnovers: The tops gave up FIVE shot clock violations in the first half. To win, you need to be aware of the time and make the best of what the defense is giving you. I thought we needed to be more physical the first half and drive to the basket more. A few of the ODU players were in some foul trouble first half, so taking it to the basket could have created some more free throw opportunities for us. The shot clock violations and awareness go hand and hand with the turnover margin. Though ODU matched the turnover number to Western at 14, many of the Tops turnovers were unnecessary. There were numerous times Anderson or Bearden would throw it into Bassey and the ball was way overthrown. Another time was Bearden throwing it out of bounds due to the lack of focus when trying to pass it to Anderson.
Effort: Though WKU was very physical, they did not seem to “want it”. Old dominion played with a chip on their shoulders and came out on top. WKU did not go all out until under the 1 minute mark in the second. They drove the ball to the basketball, expecting the foul, dove for lose balls, and played tight defense. It was too little too late for the Tops, and unfortunately, it cost us.
Free throws: Free throws win basketball games and sadly, last night was a great example of this. Time and time again we failed to execute at the line. We went 16-24 at the line to ODU’s 9-9. We were great getting to the charity strike, but failed to execute, normally resulting in making one of the two shots. If WKU could have made 3 or 4 more free throws, we could have pulled the game out. At the very least, the momentum would have changed entirely for us and it would have been a much closer game at the end. Unfortunately, a 66% free throw percentage to ODU’s 100% was also a negative take away from the game.
Some good take aways were their ability to get Bassey the ball, their rebounds, and drawing fouls to get to the line. They did a very good job creating one on one matchup’s that forced a chance at the free throw line. They also “fed” Bassey more this game, giving him a chance at making some buckets in the paint. They doubled Bassey a lot, so it made it challenging to score in the paint, but this should have freed us up allowing for some easier buckets. All in all, I thought we looked very sloppy and did not have the heart to want this game. I am not sure if it was the big stage, over hype, or tiredness of playing 3 games in 3 days, but it showed last night. Going forward into the next season we can take these points to heart and be that much better. We have lots of talent returning, as Bearden is the only senior leaving. As for our big man down low, there is a possibility of him leaving for the draft, but time will tell. In the end, it was a decent season for the Tops, we won the big games, but struggled with what should be “easy wins”. Hopefully next year these younger guys can take this season as a stepping stone to a better 2019-2020 season.
Tonight at 7:30 PM CT the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers will take on the Old Dominion Monarchs in Frisco, Texas. WKU is (0-2) in the previous two meetings this season, one of them coming after gaining a (21-0) lead in the first half and going on to lose (69-66) back on January 5th.
WKU Head Football Coach Tyson Helton Has A Message For WKU Basketball
Former WKU Basketball Player and Current Seattle Seahawk George Fant’s Thoughts On WKU Basketball
Some Thoughts From Fans:
Never change Monte.
I recommend Hilligans tonight for the Championship party:
Tonight will be fun. Go out and celebrate tonight. Lets go dancing.
On Saturday night Taveion Hollingsworth will go for history as the only sophomore in WKU basketball history to reach 1,000 career points in his freshmen and sophomore seasons. He needs 13 points to accomplish this milestone.
Hollingsworth set the WKU freshmen scoring record last season with (506) total points through 38 games. The record was previously held by Courtney Lee (461). With the current pace Hollingsworth is currently scoring at he has a good chance at setting the all time WKU scoring record held by Courtney Lee and Jim McDaniels (2,238).