Kouassi Happy To Be A Razorback

New Arkansas basketball addition and graduate transfer center Willy Kouassi (6-10, 233) talks about what he hopes to bring to the 2015-2016 edition of the Razorbacks.

On the same Thursday that former Arkansas star Bobby Portis became a first-round draft pick of Chicago Bulls, the Razorback basketball program signed transfer graduate center Willy Kouassi to addd to their 2015-2016 front court depth.

The defensive-minded Kouassi (6-10, 233) will graduate from Kennesaw State on July 29th and be immediately eligible next season at Arkansas for head coach Mike Anderson and his staff.

“First of all, I want to give God all the glory,” Kouassi said during an interview Thursday on ESPN 99.5. “The reason I chose Arkansas was because it was the best fit and the tempo.

“…I went on my visit and I got a chance to talk and get to know the players and the coaching staff and they were really down to earth. I talked to Coach A and told he me that they were going to push me to be the best player that I can possibly be.

“This right here is like putting the icing on the cake.

Kouassi, a top 100 player out of high school, who had 75 blocks the past two seasons, originally signed with Auburn and played his freshman season there before transferring to Kennesaw State.

The Ivory Coast native was a high school teammate of current Arkansas senior Jacorey Williams.

He chose Arkansas over BYU, Memphis, Ole Miss, Western Kentucky and North Texas among others this time around after visiting only Auburn out of high school.

“I didn’t want to make the same mistake so after I visited Arkansas I was looking for something to compare to Arkansas,” Kouassi said.

“But it comes down at the end of the day, I just thought Arkansas was best fit and the fact that JaCorey Williams is my former high teammate so it made my decision very easy.”

Anderson was clear about what Kouassi’s role will be.

“When I talked to him, he said he was going to use me especially on the defensive end of the floor because that is what I do,” Kouassi said. “I told him that I was going to come to a program do whatever it takes to help a team win. That is what I want to do. I just want to win games.

“He knows that I am a rebounder, a shot blocker and someone who runs the floor. On the defensive end of the floor, I will take care of it.

“I am defensive player. I believe in myself. I believe that I could go to any program in the country and contribute and help a team on the defensive end of the floor.”

Kouassi averaged 4.4 pointe and 5.0 rebounds last season.

“Offensively, I am getting better,” Kouassi said. “I can finish around the rim, but I know that I still got get better. I know that I still have a lot of work to do, but I will just take it one day at a time and see how it works out.”

He will join a front court group that includes junior Moses Kingsley (6-10, 230), sophomore Trey Thompson, (6-9, 250) Williams (6-8, 215), redshirt senior Keaton Miles (6-7, 225) and freshman Ted Kapita (6-9, 240).

“I can play both the four and the five spot. I definitely can,” Kouassi said. “I know the style at Arkansas is that they push the ball and run the floor and that is what I do.

“I like running and that is why I am coming to Arkansas because I fit their system.”

Kouassi is well aware he can’t replace what Portis brought to the team, but is anxious to help out as one of the players to combine to help alleviate his loss.

“I had a chance to watch Portis and he was a great player both offensive and defensively,” Kouassi said…I am ready to go out there on campus and just work hard to help this team win games.”

Former Auburn player Willy Kouassi blocks a shot of Alabama's JaMychal Green during Kouassi's freshman season.

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