“If he feels like there's a lull out there at practice, you hear him barking. If somebody's not running off the field, he's speaking up. As a coach, it takes so much off of you, when you've got your own guys who can police that. And he's the policemen out there.”
K-State, then coached by Ron Prince, was the first to recruit and offer Bassett. And he accepted, recognizing a lot to like in the Wildcats and Manhattan.
A kid from Tuttle, Bassett's first love was OSU. And eventually, it was his choice.
But from April of his junior year to November of his senior year, he was pledged to the Wildcats.
“I went up there quite a bit,” Bassett said. “And I would always get that feeling of small town. And it reminded me a lot of Stillwater. They don't have a huge stadium, but they pack it out. And their fans are great fans, they're dedicated and loyal. It's a small town, it's an agricultural school.
“I really enjoy the campus and have a healthy respect for Manhattan and K-State fans, because they do resemble so much what's at OSU.”
The relationships played a part, too.
And in Klein, Bassett saw plenty to relate to and to admire.
“He's a lot like me personality wise,” Bassett said. “He's a good guy, has great character. Seems like he came from a really good family; middle class family. Midwestern, USA, values. Real Christian kid; very devout in his faith.
“He was just a good person to be around. It seemed like we had a lot of similarities from out family life back home. It made it easier for us to kind of connect and become buddies.”
K-State coaches even enlisted Bassett and Klein, as early commits, to help recruit other prospects to Manhattan, although Bassett isn't sure how effective he was in luring any players.
That was four-plus years ago. Saturday night, Bassett and Klein will come together one more time — likely for the last time as enemies.
And for the two friends, that's what they'll be.
“You've got to be able to flip the switch,” Bassett said. “People have asked me, ‘Would you help him up?' No. I wouldn't help up (Oklahoma's) Landry Jones. I wouldn't help up (Texas') David Ash. That's not what we do as a defense.
“I would never take a cheap shot on Collin. But at the same time, I'm not going to give him any special treatment. He's the bad guy on Saturday and because of that, that's how I'm going to treat him.”