#64 Western Kentucky Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #64
Conference Rank: #2 C-USA
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Western Kentucky has won at least 20 games in each of the last four seasons. That should not end this year. However, the Hilltoppers lose three starters, including Charles Bassey, who was drafted in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Taveion Hollingsworth, the only other player who averaged double digits in scoring, is also playing in the professional ranks. That leaves some huge holes to fill, but Coach Rick Stansbury has some talent returning and plenty of new talent ready to step up and take WKU to another conference title.
2020-21 Record: 21-8, 11-3
2020-21 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Rick Stansbury
Coach Record: 103-60 at Western Kentucky, 396-225 overall
Key Departed Players:
Charles Bassey, Center, 17.6 ppg
Taveion Hollingsworth, Guard, 13.9 ppg
Jordan Rawls, Guard, 8.3 ppg
Carson Williams, Forward, 7.5 ppg
Kylen Milton, Guard, 2.7 ppg
Kenny Cooper, Guard, 2.6 ppg
Kevin Osawe, Forward, 2.2 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Josh Anderson, Senior, Guard, 9.3 ppg
Luke Frampton, Senior, Guard, 7.4 ppg
Dayvion McKnight, Sophomore, Guard, 5.8 ppg
Isaiah Cozart, Junior, Forward, 1.6 ppg
Bailey Conrad, Sophomore, Forward, 0.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Sherman Brashear, Sophomore, Guard, JC Transfer
Jaylen Butz, Senior, Forward, Transfer from DePaul
Jairus Hamilton, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Maryland
Zion Harmon, Freshman, Guard
Elijah Hughey, Freshman, Guard
Darrius Miles, Sophomore, Center, JC Transfer
Jamarion Sharp, Junior, Center, JC Transfer
Noah Stanbury, Freshman, Guard
Keith Williams, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Cincinnati
The backcourt trio of Josh Anderson, Luke Frampton and Dayvion McKnight form an experienced backcourt. Anderson is the team’s top returning scorer, averaging 9.2 points per game. Frampton added 7.5 points per game and really comes alive from beyond the arc. McKnight is not much of a shooter, but the sophomore dished out 3.8 assists per game. McKnight is a great talent and was named Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2020. With a year of experience under his belt, he should turn into a great floor leader. The backcourt also brings in a nice variety of newcomers. Keith Williams comes from Cincinnati where he started the last three seasons. In 2020-2021 he averaged 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Sherman Brashear brings some experience from the junior college ranks and Zion Harman is a four-star recruit who has the talent to make a big splash from day one. The frontcourt will rely heavily on DePaul transfer Jaylen Butz and Maryland transfer Jairus Hamilton. Butz averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds with the Blue Demons last season and Hamilton saw his numbers dip last year in College Park, but averaged 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds while playing at Boston College in 2019-2020. Junior college transfers Jamarion Sharp and Darrius Miles will add some much-needed size to the roster. Sharp is the one to watch and the 7-5 junior will at least be a dominating force on the defensive end when he is in the game. Coach Stansbury did a good job of reloading his roster. In a year where many other teams return relatively intact, that could be a problem for Western Kentucky, but in the end, this is a group that has the talent to win the Conference USA title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.7 (127th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.0 (104, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.9 (116, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.2 (115, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (259, 10
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.5 (130, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.8 (9, 1)
Rebound Margin: 6.4 (26, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (136, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.2 (241, 11)
Madness 2021 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#51 Zion Harmon