Evaluating Charles Bassey and Isaiah Joe

December 7th, 2019

by Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to watch Charles Bassey and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers square off against Isaiah Joe and the Arkansas Razorbacks in a non-conference, college basketball game that took place today.  It was a very competitive, hard-fought match that went back and forth, as it went all the way into overtime, and Western Kentucky was able to get a narrow victory over Arkansas. Unfortunately, Charles Bassey injured his left knee late in this contest, and there are concerns that it could be pretty serious. In all, here are evaluations on how Bassey and Joe fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Western Kentucky's sophomore center, Charles Bassey had some good moments in his team's overtime win over Arkansas, but unfortunately he ended up suffering a knee injury late in the game.  (Photo: Mark Zaleski/Associated Press via Courier Journal.)
Western Kentucky’s sophomore center, Charles Bassey had some good moments in his team’s overtime win over Arkansas, but unfortunately he ended up suffering a knee injury late in the game. (Photo: Mark Zaleski/Associated Press via Courier Journal.)

Western Kentucky’s 6-10 sophomore center, Charles Bassey had a decent showing in his team’s overtime win over Arkansas. He didn’t always assert himself offensively and was a bit turnover prone, but he scored efficiently, and he helped provide some rebounding and interior defense when he was on the court. Unfortunately, he suffered a left knee injury late in this contest, as that could potentially hamper his draft stock quite a bit in the future.

Bassey excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He would tend to score off of offensive rebounds, as he managed to score on a powerful tip slam, and he also scored on a tough jump hook in traffic on a separate play. He also ran the floor to score on a powerful dunk in transition, and he also drew free throws after getting the ball on a roll to the rim. However, he had a couple of his shots blocked, as he can struggle to score in traffic.

He also showed off a decent ability to score in the post. Though he bobbled the pass early on, Bassey caught it, and quickly scored on a close range jumper inside the paint. However, he had trouble sealing his man to establish low post position, as his teammates had trouble getting him the basketball, and he also injured his knee when he attempted to score from the block late in this contest.

On the other hand, Bassey was quite turnover prone on offense. On the bright side, he flashed some passing skills, as he threw a harp pass from out on the perimeter to find a cutter to notch an assist. He also can pass out of the post, and will set screens for his teammates. On the downside, he committed a lot of turnovers. He shuffled his feet once as he forgot to dribble out of the post once, and he tended to commit turnovers due to carelessness. He also doesn’t look to handle the ball very often, and so he may have trouble creating his own shots consistently when he is outside of the paint area.

He also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball. Bassey was quite active in crashing the glass, as he would frequently leap up to get tough offensive boards in traffic, and he was able to score on a couple of put backs to help provide second chance points for his team. Sometimes though, he would commit over the back fouls when going for offensive rebounds, and he also would occasionally forget to block out, as that caused him once to allow a put back score.

Also, Bassey played adequate defense in this game. He was able to rotate to block a shot ferociously off of a drive in transition to force a miss, and he also would step up on drives to help his team get stops. However, he would sometimes give up too much space when guarding shooters, and other times he can still be undisciplined on defense, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In general, Charles Bassey had his ups and downs, but the main thing is that he will need time to fully recover from a knee injury. His draft stock may take an immediate hit in the short-term, but it is imperative for him to be able to make a full recovery after suffered this unfortunate setback. Right now, he will need to improve his face-up game, cut down on turnovers, and be a more disciplined defender when he returns from his knee injury, but Bassey also could project to be an energetic rim protector at the next level. Currently, he may project to be a second round prospect. If things break his way, he could end up being in the NBA for a long time, as he may end up being a similar player to former New York Knicks’ center, Kyle O’Quinn in the association.

Arkansas' sophomore guard, Isaiah Joe showed off some solid shooting skills in his team's overtime loss to Western Kentucky.  (Photo: Andy Hodges/Hit That Line via hitthatline.com.)
Arkansas’ sophomore guard, Isaiah Joe showed off some solid shooting skills in his team’s overtime loss to Western Kentucky. (Photo: Andy Hodges/Hit That Line via hitthatline.com.)

Arkansas’ 6-5 sophomore guard, Isaiah Joe had a slow start to this game, but he played much better in the second half. Though his team ended up losing to Western Kentucky, Joe showed that he is an agile, microwave type of scorer that can make shots in a hurry.

Joe looked to shoot often, and while he can be streaky with his shot, he had some nice made baskets from beyond the arc. He has a nice step back move that he can make when taking pull-up threes, and he also excelled at making threes in transition. However, he missed plenty of long-range shots as well, as he seemed to struggle to adjust to the distance early on, and had trouble getting open late in this contest.

He also showed a decent ability to score on drives to the basket. Joe managed to score on a right-handed drive, and he also can draw fouls upon his defenders, but he also would tend to miss on mid-range jumpers off the dribble.

However, Joe was entirely too turnover prone in this game. For the positives, he would swing the ball to open shooters to set up scores for them. On the downside, he had trouble protecting the basketball, as he would get the ball poked away and he would also lose it on other occasions. He also committed a charging foul when handling the ball in the backcourt. He also can tend to throw hasty passes that would go astray, as he had one pass intercepted, and another dropped by a teammate.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards, as he was able to collect rebounds on both ends of the floor. Joe also played adequate defense. He will actively contest shots off of drives, and he also managed to block a shot. Joe also managed to deflect a pass, and he also contested a three-point shot to force a miss. However, sometimes he can tend to give up too much space to shooters, and he also can be late on his rotations, which can lead him to allow scores.

In summary, Isaiah Joe had some good moments, as he was able to make numerous long-range shots in the second half to help his team stay in the game. However, he also missed plenty of jumpers, and was quite turnover prone, especially early in this contest. He is a talented combo guard that could move up draft boards if he can make more shots consistently in games. Right now, he is a second round prospect that may have the skills to help a team’s bench in the NBA, and he may be a similar player to former Atlanta Hawks’ guard, Tyler Dorsey in the league.

Other Notes:

Arkansas’ 6-5 junior guard, Mason Jones struggled in his team’s loss to Western Kentucky. Though he’s been one of his team’s leading scorers on the season, he struggled to knock down jumpers or to score consistently off the dribble, but Jones did make a nifty, fadeaway turnaround jumper from the post once. He also is a strong, physical player that showed a knack for drawing fouls and getting to the foul line.

However, he was quite turnover prone in this game. For the positives, Jones is an unselfish player that will swing the ball to open shooters, and he also can kick balls out to them to set up scoring chances for them. However, he committed a couple of ball handling turnovers due to carelessness, and he also threw a lazy pass that ended up getting picked off another time.

Jones did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he would frequently chase down balls to get boards to help his team on the glass. However, he will need to improve his on-ball defense. On one good play, he managed to contest a three to force a miss. However, he also can tend to commit bad fouls, and he tended to foul opponents when guarding his man. He had some trouble guarding opponents off the dribble, and he also committed a bad foul late in this match, as he fouled his man on a three-point shot, which led to a four-point play for the opposition.

Overall, Mason Jones is an athletic combo guard that can score in the post, and he also rebounds the ball well. But he will need to improve in the other facets of the game. Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted, as he will need to significantly improve his jump shot. Still, he has been a productive player at a power conference school in college, which could enable him to make an NBA team’ summer league roster sometime down the road.

Arkansas’ 6-1 sophomore guard, Desi Sills is a quick, agile combo guard that excelled at shooting and scoring the basketball. He would tend to score on strong, left-handed drives to the hoop, and he also showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes off the catch. He also threw once good pass off the dribble to show his court vision, and he is a pesky defender that would poke balls away to get steals. Overall, Sills played very well, and he could be a player to keep an eye on in the future.

Arkansas’ 6-3 senior guard, Jimmy Whitt Jr. had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists in his team’s loss to Western Kentucky. He is a high-motor player that would tend to score on mid-range jumpers and drives to the hoop, and he also would score on hustle plays. He also managed to score on a turnaround jumper in the post, but he also missed plenty of mid-range jumpers, and he did not take a single three-point shot. Overall, he is a fairly athletic combo guard that could project into a defensive specialist role at the next level, but he will need to improve his jump shot to increase his odds to make it to the NBA.

Western Kentucky’s 6-5 senior guard, Jared Savage did a very good job of making spot-up threes off the catch, as he can also run off of ball screens to do so, and he even made a three and drew an extra free throw to help his team on offense. He also used a step back move to make a pull-up, long two-point shot. Overall, Savage is a fairly athletic, skilled shooter that may have the skills to compete for a roster spot in the NBA.

Western Kentucky’s 6-6 junior swingman, Josh Anderson did a great job of scoring and drawing free throws on strong dries to the hoop, as he handles the ball well, and can finish plays using either hand. He also did a good job of scoring on the break, and he also rebounded the ball well. Anderson is an athletic scorer that will still need to improve his jump shot, but his ability to attack the basket to garner scores could make him an interesting prospect to keep an eye on for the 2021 draft.

Western Kentucky’s 6-2 junior guard, Taveion Hollingsworth is a speedy, fleet-footed combo guard that can attack the basket to score on quick drives, floaters, and he also made several jumpers to help space the floor for his team. He also managed to score on a dunk in transition late in the game, and he also rebounded the ball very well. Right now, Hollingsworth could project to be a potential second round prospect for the 2021 draft, as he may have the skills to end up being a microwave type of scorer at the next level.

Arkansas’ 6-6 senior forward, Adrio Bailey showed a good ability to score on rolls to the rim, and he also made a long two after using a jab step, but he also struggled to make jumpers consistently. He was able to get his fair share of boards, and he also played decent defense. Bailey is an athletic, combo forward that did a great job of blocking shots in the paint to help his team get stops, but he also can be too aggressive in looking to make plays, as he can give up positioning to try to go for blocks, which would lead him to commit fouls on other plays.

Overall, Bailey is an athletic, high-motor player that may project to be a defensive specialist at the next level, but he will still need to improve his jump shot and perimeter skills, and he will also need to be a more disciplined defender in games. Still, his motor and solid shot blocking skills could allow him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster in 2020.