Charles Bassey NBA Draft Q&A: Western Kentucky center on working out for Knicks, Nets

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Western Kentucky Hilltoppers center Charles Bassey smiles after the game against the UAB Blazers in 2021
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers center Charles Bassey smiles after the game against the UAB Blazers in 2021

When Charles Bassey hears his name called on Thursday night, he’ll think of his home country of Nigeria and everyone who has supported him along the way.

Bassey, a 20-year-old big man from Western Kentucky, says it will be a “dream come true.”

It could also be a dream come true for the team that selects Bassey in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Some mock drafts have projected Bassey as a second-round pick. But most of Bassey’s 11 pre-draft workouts have been private. A private workout indicates a high level of interest in Bassey, who projects as a defensive anchor who can stretch the floor.

With the draft approaching, some teams expect Bassey to be taken well ahead of where those mock drafts project.

Bassey has worked out for both the Knicks and the Nets. His workout with the Nets was one of several private workouts he took part in before the draft.

Below, Bassey talks about the pre-draft process, working out for the Knicks and Nets, what he hopes to bring the NBA and more…

SNY: What has the pre-draft process been like?

Bassey: The pre-draft process has been a blessing. From starting my pre-draft prep with my trainer (Drew Hanlen) back in April to finishing my last workout yesterday (July 27), it's exciting to see how much I've improved in such a short amount of time. I've truly enjoyed traveling from city to city playing the game I love and getting to meet and work out in front of the leadership groups of numerous NBA teams. Working out in a new city every other day has been helpful in terms of preparing me for what is to come with an 82 game NBA regular season. Throughout this process I've just tried to be a sponge in learning from others and enjoying every moment of it.

SNY: Have you thought about the moment when your name gets called? What will it mean to you?

Bassey: Of course. I thought about it as a kid and again a few times throughout this process, but honestly I've been laser focused on my pre-draft prep, crushing my workouts with teams, and the task at hand. I'm sure when my name gets called it will be an emotional moment for me and a dream come true. I'll think about Nigeria and all my supporters back home and it will be good to be surrounded by my close family and friends.

SNY: What was the most challenging drill/task you had to do during workouts?

Bassey: The most challenging drill was when I had to sprint up and down for two minutes straight and I was able to get 19-and-half.

SNY: What are your goals in your rookie season?

Bassey: Overall, I just want to help my team win games, make an impact on the floor, and given my ability to be a defensive anchor and rebound at a high level, I'm confident I can help in whatever role I'm able to earn.

SNY: What is your skill that can translate immediately to the NBA?

Bassey: My ability to rebound (create second chance opportunities) and defend (block shots) at a high level will translate to the NBA. Also, I think my ability to stretch the floor and shoot the ball from three will be helpful as well.

SNY: What do you want the fan base of the team that drafts you to know about you?

Bassey: I just want them to know that I'm an extremely hard worker and will do anything to help the team win. I work tirelessly at perfecting my craft and I'm always trying to find ways to improve my game. I'm a great locker room guy and off the court, I enjoy making an impact in the community and engaging with fans.

SNY: How was your workout with the Nets?

Bassey: My workout with the Nets went really well. It was private so I went through a good amount of drills with their staff and I shot the ball well. Overall it was great to meet with the Nets staff, get a feel for how they like to play, and how I could potentially fit with the team.

SNY: Who did you meet with?

Bassey: I met with the entire front office

SNY: How was your workout with the Knicks?

Bassey: My workout with the Knicks was great and very competitive. It was a group workout so we had the chance to play 1-on-1 and 3-on-3, which is always fun and good to go up against other guys. I shot the ball well in the drills and it was great getting to meet with the entire Knicks staff.

SNY: Who did you meet with?

Bassey: I met with the entire front office

SNY: What do you think about potentially joining the Nets?

Bassey: The buzz in Brooklyn is crazy and obviously they have a very exciting group of guys so I'd love to be a part of what they are building and think it could be something very special.

SNY: What do you think about potentially joining the Knicks?

Bassey: Similar to Brooklyn, the buzz around the Knicks and Madison Square Garden is electric. The Knicks are officially back, and I'd love to be a part of what they are building as well. At the end of the day, I'm just happy to have the opportunity to play in the league and know I have to work extremely hard to stay in the league and make an impact.