Willy Kouassi | #50 | 6’10” | 220 | Center | Auburn University | Ivory Coast (Africa)Follow @KSUOwlHowl
Willy Kouassi is a 6’10” 220 pound center who has transferred to Kennesaw State after playing sparingly behind veterans during his freshman season at Auburn. He will likely be sitting out 2012 because of NCAA transfer rules. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
He comes to KSU with fellow Ivory Coast native and Auburn transfer Bernard Morena as part of a package deal.
Rivals.com ranked him as the 66th best prospect in the entire country and the 7th best center in the Class of 2011.
Before committing to Auburn in August of 2010, Kouassi had plenty of schools to choose from. He had offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, UAB, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. In 2012 the package deal of Morena and Kouassi garnered interest from Louisiana Tech, Monmouth, Mississippi State, Tulane and Illinois State before committing to Kennesaw State.
Here are his first impressions of Kennesaw State, “So far so good, I am surrounded by good people and we are getting to know each other. I like my teammates and coaches, they treat us (Morena) like family and that is really important to me.”
“He plays like Dwight Howard. He blocks shots. He gets the rebound, finds the guard and runs the floor.” –Donovan Broadnax, Head Coach at Central Park Christian.
““I was always tall,” said Kouassi, who was 6-foot-8 at the age of 13. “My dad told me ‘You need to play basketball. Forget about soccer.’ It was because of my size.””
Here is what Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee had to say in 2010 upon Kouassi’s signing: “”Willy brings us a bigger presence along the frontline who can rebound and really block shots. He is very athletic for his size at 6-10 and has a high motor and high energy level. He has to get better on the offensive end of the floor, but he can score down there given the opportunity.””
Owls Head Coach Lewis Preston says, “Willy will give us a defensive and offensive presence close to the basket.”
Here are some of his profiles,
Kouassi averaged 14 points, 15 rebounds and 3.5 blocks during his senior year of high school at Central Park Christian.
Here are his 2011 statistics from Auburn. Unfortunately, he only got spot minutes behind upperclassman Rob Chubb for most of the season. He played in 25 out of 31 games, and out of those 25 games he played over ten minutes just 13 times.
Here are his numbers from the final three games of the season. The rebounds project nicely over the course of an entire game.
Kouassi will likely sit out the 2012 season but in 2013 he will be starting at center. He already has enough size and athletecism to be dominant in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but he should pack on a few more pounds to truly rise above the competition.
He told us in June that he is working on his offensive game and sounded supremely confident in his ability to defend, rebound and run the floor.
Kouassi is a lengthy 6’10” center who excels on defense, rebounding and running the floor. He is nowhere near being a finished product and is working hard on the offensive end of his game. Just his presence on the floor should dictate the way opposing offenses play in the Atlantic Sun.
Strengths: Kouassi is an active and mobile post that plays with urgency the entire time he is on the floor. His strengths at this stage of his game is his ability to sprint the floor, rebound with authority on both ends in and out of his area and finish drop off passes above the rim in traffic. On the defensive end, Kouassi is an excellent shot blocker on the ball or coming from the weak side. He possesses great length and timing.
Weaknesses: At about 215 pounds Kouassi needs to add strength but makes up for it with quickness around the basket. His hands are good but his skill package needs immediate attention. Once he adds a back to the basket move and counter move along with improving his ball handling this young post will take his game to the next level.
Bottom Line: It should be fun watching Kouassi develop. It remains to be seen what kind of impact, however, he will have as a freshman at Auburn.
MemphisRoar.com from July of 2010: “Kouassi is an active and mobile post that plays with urgency the entire time he is on the floor. The African native is gifted athletically, but his defense is far ahead of his offense. Kouassi runs the floor well and is an active rebounder at both ends of the floor. He has good feet and is agile away from the basket.”
Kouassi will start at center in 2013 and man the paint for three seasons. If his offensive development comes along as expected, we could be looking at an All-Conference First Team member or Atlantic Sun Player of the Year candidate down the road in 2014 and 2015. I will leave you with some highlights.Follow @KSUOwlHowl