Under Rick Stansbury, Western Kentucky has recruited at a Power Five level. Stansbury took over the Hilltoppers in March 2016. In his first two full recruiting cycles, he’s landed four blue chip players.
Stansbury had a reputation as an ace recruiter when he took over WKU. He was the longtime head coach of Mississippi State, leading the Bulldogs to six NCAA Tournaments from 1998-2012, before retiring from the program. A few years later, he returned to coaching as an assistant at Texas A&M, where he helped sign one of the best classes in Aggies history.
Stansbury first made serious waves at Western Kentucky with the signing of Mitchell Robinson. The five-star recruit was the No. 1 center in the class of 2017, and viewed as a potential lottery pick.
Four-star shooting guard Josh Anderson joined Robinson in that first full Stansbury class, choosing the Hilltoppers over schools like Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, LSU, N.C. State, and Texas A&M. 247Sports ranked him as the No. 52 player in the class, and the 13th-ranked shooting guard.
This week, Stansbury landed another huge five-star recruit in Charles Bassey.
Bassey was a consensus five-star player in the class of 2019, until yesterday. He has reclassified, and will enroll at Western Kentucky as a member of the 2018 class. He explained the decision to the College Heights Herald.
“After discussing this opportunity with my parents, I feel that this is the best decision for me,” Bassey said in a statement. “Rick Stansbury was the first coach to offer me, and I’m comfortable here. I know Coach Stansbury will push me and I want to be a part of rebuilding this program. I’m looking forward to the challenges that college brings and hope to help us win the conference.”
Bassey joins four-star point guard Dalano Banton, who has already signed with the school. He is the No. 86 player in the class, and the No. 12 point guard.
Stansbury and Hilltopper fans hope that Bassey’s time in Bowling Green goes better than Robinson’s, which was brief and marred with controversy. In early August, Robinson had second thoughts about his decision, and was granted his release by the program. However, weeks later, he enrolled at the school.
In mid-September, he elected to leave WKU before playing a game, and skipped his year of college hoops to prepare for the NBA Draft. He may still be a first-round pick a week from today at the NBA Draft, but the whole situation was very strange from the jump.
Last season, the Hilltoppers went 27-11, with a 14-4 Conference USA record. The team finished the season in the NIT semifinals.