#64 Western Kentucky Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #64
Conference Rank: #1 Conference USA
 Western Kentucky Logo
Western Kentucky was a bit disappointing last season. The Hilltoppers still won 20 games and finished tied for second in the Conference USA standings; but that was a very talented team that many expected to go to the NCAA Tournament. WKU did not even reach the NIT. The good news is that most of this team is back, including sophomore center Charles Bassey who flirted with going to the NBA. Bassey led the team with 14.6 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. He is an absolute monster in the paint and that year of experience is only going to make him more dangerous.
2018-19 Record: 20-14, 11-7
2018-19 Postseason: None
Coach: Rick Stansbury
Coach Record: 62-42 at Western Kentucky, 355-207 overall
Key Departed Players:
Lamonte Bearden, Guard, 9.2 ppg
Dalano Banton, Guard, 3.4 ppg
Tolu Smith, Forward, 3.3 ppg
Marek Nelson, Forward, 2.7 ppg
Jake Ohmer, Guard, 1.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Charles Bassey, Sophomore, Center, 14.6 ppg
Taveion Hollingsworth, Junior, Guard, 14.4 ppg
Jared Savage, Senior, Guard/Forward, 12.2 ppg
Josh Anderson, Junior, Guard, 12.1 ppg
Matt Horton, Senior, Forward, 1.1 ppg
Jeremiah Gambrell, RS Freshman, Guard, 0.8 ppg
Key New Players:
Isaiah Cozart, Freshman, Forward
Jackson Harlan, Freshman, Guard
Camron Justice, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from IUPUI
Patrick Murphy, Junior, Guard, DII Transfer
Jordan Rawls, Freshman, Guard
Carson Williams, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Northern Kentucky
Kenny Cooper, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Lipscomb, not eligible
Joining Bassey are fellow double digit scorers Taveion Hollingsworth, Jared Savage and Josh Anderson. Hollingsworth added 14.4 points per game and proved to be very effective attacking the basket and shooting the ball. If he can be a little more consistent with his shot, Hollingsworth will be in for a big junior campaign. Like Hollingsworth, Anderson needs to be more efficient shooting from long range. However, Anderson is a big 6-6 guard who does his best work in the paint. Savage was the most prolific shooter on the team last season, knocking down 36.0 percent of his 222 attempts from beyond the arc. The addition of Camron Justice and Carson Williams will add plenty of experienced depth. Justice comes from IUPUI as a graduate transfer where last season he averaged 18.6 points per game. He is a prolific shooter and will help take the pressure off Savage. Williams spent two seasons with Northern Kentucky before sitting out with WKU last year. As a sophomore with the Norse, the 6-5, 230 pound forward averaged 12.0 points and 5.6 rebounds. The huge potential problem with this team is at point guard. Kenny Cooper, a transfer from Lipscomb, would certainly solve that problem if he is deemed eligible. For now Cooper is awaiting word from the NCAA and the Hilltoppers will have to get quality minutes from freshman Jordan Rawls. If the questions at point guard are answered, this is not just a team that can reach the NCAA Tournament, but a team that can do a little damage once they get there.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.4 (206th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.3 (120, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.7 (162, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (72, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (321, 14)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.7 (262, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.4 (115, 4)
Rebound Margin: 2.3 (103, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (259, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (249, 8)
Madness 2020 NBA Draft Rankings:
#24 Charles Bassey