FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas men’s basketball head coach Mike Anderson announced the addition of 6-foot-10 Kennesaw State transfer Willy Kouassi on Thursday, signing the shot-blocking center to a grant-in-aid. Kouassi will have one year of eligibility with the Razorbacks and can play immediately.
“Willy will give us valuable experience in the frontcourt and he will have an immediate impact on our program,” said Anderson. “His length and athleticism fits well with our style of play because he’s a big man that can get up-and-down the floor. Willy also provides another defensive stopper at the rim and a post presence on the offensive end. We’re excited to have Willy in the Razorback family.”
Kouassi was voted the Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year by the fans last season after becoming Kennesaw State’s all-time leader in blocks in just two seasons with the Owls. Kouassi blocked a shot in 38 of his 58 games at Kennesaw State, highlighted by a 14-game streak, and averaged 4.6 rebounds in less than 20 minutes per game. As a junior, he made 25 starts with averages of 4.6 points and 5.0 rebounds to go along with a team-high 36 blocks.
A native of the Ivory Coast, Kouassi’s collegiate career started at Auburn where he saw time in 25 contests. A top 100 recruit coming out high school according to ESPN and Rivals.com, he led Central Park Christian Academy in Birmingham, Ala. to back-to-back National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) national titles.
Kouassi is one of four newcomers that will join Arkansas immediately in 2015-16. Former Texas Tech shooting guard and Little Rock native Dusty Hannahs will see his first action as a Razorback after sitting out the 2014-15 campaign due to NCAA four-year transfer rules. Arkansas will also usher in a pair of top 60 players in the 2015 class in guard Jimmy Whitt and power forward Ted Kapita. A native of Columbia, Mo., Whitt signed with the Razorbacks on the first day of the early signing period in November and finished with a No. 55 ranking by Rivals.com. Kapita was tabbed the No. 41 overall player in the class by 247Sports.com out of Huntington Prep in West Virginia.
Late in the spring, Arkansas also added Colorado transfer Dustin Thomas who will have to sit out the 2015-16 season, but will have two years of eligibility.