Facebook Twitter

Recruiting: BYU reportedly among top 3 for big-man graduate transfer

SHARE Recruiting: BYU reportedly among top 3 for big-man graduate transfer

The BYU frontcourt may receive some additional help for next season.

Willy Kouassi, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound center who is transferring from Kennesaw State, has the Cougars among his final three, according to a report.

Because he is a graduate transfer, Kouassi will be eligible to play immediately, according to Georgia Basketball Blog. He will have one year of eligibility remaining.

"It’s hard to find guys that absolutely love to play defense,” Darien Knox, who is Kouassi's guardian, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The article, published Monday, did not list BYU among the places Kouassi was set to visit. “Willy is the type of guy that gets mad and upset if someone scores on him so he takes a real strong pride in his defense."

Kouassi averaged 4.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 19.3 minutes played per game last season. He also averaged 1.3 blocks per game and was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

He became Kennesaw State’s all-time career leader in blocks during the 2014-15 season. Kouassi had eight games with three or more blocks with the Owls.

The Ivory Coast native played the past two seasons at Kennesaw State after beginning his college career at Auburn. With the Tigers, Kouassi came off the bench and played in 25 games as a freshman in 2011-12, averaging 1.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game.

Kouassi would provide depth for the Cougars inside. Corbin Kaufusi emerged as the starting center as a freshman for BYU last season, averaging 3.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game while starting 13 contests. The Cougars are also expecting senior Nate Austin to return after an injury-plagued season, though his future is still uncertain.

With the transfers of Frank Bartley IV and Isaac Neilson, BYU currently has an open scholarship.

Kouassi was rated a four-star athlete coming out of high school by Rivals.com. He was ranked the seventh-best center prospect — and 66th overall — in the 2011 class by Rivals.

Email: bjudd@deseretdigital.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd