Rookie Benefiting From Battles With Sixers Star

Charles Bassey Sixers

Getty Charles Bassey of the Philadelphia 76ers poses during the 2021 NBA rookie photo shoot.

Although he was technically inked in time for training camp, Philadelphia 76ers rookie Charles Bassey’s mini-holdout has left him playing catch-up in some respects. Still, the strategy definitely paid off for the Western Kentucky standout; in the end, he was able to secure guaranteed money as a late second-round pick.

Now, though, he has to deal with the fallout of being a late signee.

He was a no-show for the Sixers’ preseason opener, for example, as the team was still working on getting his visa together for the trip to Toronto. And during Philly’s return engagement with the Raptors at Wells Fargo, he was limited to just five minutes of action.

Nevertheless, the 6-foot-10 big man — who finished fourth in the nation in blocks last season at 3.1 per game — looks to be coming along. And he’s being aided in the effort by the Sixers’ All-Star, Joel Embiid, who is doing his best to coach Bassey up.

Embiid the Sensei

Charles Bassey Introductory Press Conference | Philadelphia 76ers 2021 NBA DraftThe 76ers selected Western Kentucky C Charles Bassey with the No. 53 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Bassey addressed the media on his first day at the team's practice facility. #Sixers » Get the latest news on NBC Sports Philadelphia: » Download the MyTeams app: iOS: Android: NBC Sports Philadelphia serves…2021-07-31T16:11:14Z

Throughout camp, Bassey has found himself in the rare position of having to square off with an MVP candidate one-on-one, over and over. Although that presents an incredible challenge for the rookie, it’s also an opportunity for him to learn the tricks of the trade from one of the world’s best ballers.

That’s not lost on him, either.

“It was tough,” Bassey said of their camp battles, via The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Someone like me, going against Joel, it’s good for me. That’s one of the best bigs in the league.”

Embiid’s teachings don’t stop when he leaves the floor. According to Bassey, the four-time All-Star is dispensing hardwood wisdom at all times. “Sometimes in practice, he coaches me [from the sideline], just giving advice,” he said. “When we do drills and I make mistakes, he talks to me.”

In the end, those moments are probably more important than some garbage-time stint in an exhibition game.

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Bassey Looking to Prove His Commitment

Given the way in which his summer played out, some among the Philly faithful may feel inclined to question Bassey’s commitment to the franchise. However, the 20-year-old has been determined to show that simply isn’t the case.

Even as he missed summer league while angling for a better deal, Bassey made regular appearances at the Sixers’ training facility. And his efforts to show that he’s all-in on Philly continue.

“I really wanted to show them I wanted to be with the team,” Bassey said ahead of his preseason debut. “I really love the team. I love Philly. I want to be here with these guys and to win. They were really shocked. They didn’t think I was gonna come, but I did, and they’re really encouraged.”


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