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NKU's Brannen Announces Latest Basketball Recruiting Class

Men’s basketball head coach John Brannen has announced a recruiting class that features five future Norse that will suit up for Northern Kentucky beginning in the fall of 2016. Mason Faulkner, Blake Spellman, Jalen Tate, Dantez Walton and Carson Williams have signed National Letters of Intent to play for NKU next season.

“Today is a big day. Signing day is the next step in building our men’s basketball program,” stated Brannen. “I am very excited for these five guys to join our team. They embody what this program is about. Their work ethic. Their character. And, their style of play.”

The recruiting class features two players from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, two from Ohio and one from Missouri. Three of the players have garnered recognition as three-star recruits, while the other two were tabbed with two-stars.

Mason Faulkner
A 6-3 combo guard, Faulkner comes to Northern Kentucky from Caverna High in Glasgow, Kentucky. Faulkner is an accomplished scorer who raised his scoring average from 18.0 points per game as a freshman to 23.8 his sophomore season and 30.3 last year as a junior. He also attacks the glass, hauling in nearly 600 rebounds in his first three seasons at Caverna.

Consecutive all-state honors highlight Faulkner’s list of accolades. He was an all-state second team honoree as a junior and all-state honorable mention recipient his sophomore campaign. Faulkner is listed as a 3-star recruit from both and Rivals.

“Mason is a young man that can score in a variety of ways. He can shoot the three, knock down mid-range jumpers and get to the rim. He also does a good job of making those around him better,” commented Brannen.

Blake Spellman
Spellman is a 6-1 point guard from Lee’s Summit High School in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. LSHS has reached the 20-win plateau in each of the last two seasons under Spellman’s leadership. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.7 assists during his sophomore season and upped both averages to 17 points and five assists as a junior.

Consecutive first-team all-district and first-team all-conference honors highlight Spellman’s awards. lists Spellman as a 2-star recruit for the Norse.

“The fans at NKU are going to love Blake’s game,” said Brannen. “He’s a true point guard who really makes the game easier for others, which is the best compliment for a point guard. He’s got a little bit of flare to his game that the fans will enjoy.”

Jalen Tate
Tate is a 2015 all-conference honoree for Pickerington Central HS in Pickerington, Ohio. He averaged 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as a game during his junior campaign. 

A 2-star recruit by, Tate’s heritage lies on the hardwood. His father Jermaine Tate played for Ohio State and Cincinnati prior to a 13-year professional career overseas and his brother Jae’Sean Tate is currently a sophomore forward at Ohio State.

“When we first watched Jalen, it was very obvious that he as a good fit for this style of play. He’s really long and plays extremely hard. He’s the right fit at the right time,” said Brannen.

Dantez Walton
A native of Lima, Ohio, and product of Lima Central Catholic, has ranked the 6-5 Walton a 3-star recruit. As a junior, Walton tallied 16 points and 8 boards per game. Lima Central has gone 72-8 during Walton’s career.

An all-district performer last season, Walton has led LCC to back-to-back state finals appearances.

“Dantez is a young man that affects winning, whether it is defensively, offensively or rebounding the basketball. He brings a lot to the game of basketball,” described Brannen.

Carson Williams
Williams is 6-7 wing from Owen County High School in Owenton, Kentucky. The ESPN 3-star recruit averaged 22.5 points and 15.1 rebounds per game as a junior. Those numbers came on the heels of averages of 24.1 points and 13.8 boards during his sophomore campaign.

The list of accolades bestowed to Williams includes 2014 Courier Journal third-team all-state, 2015 Courier Journal second-team all-state and 2015 Lexington Herald second-team all-state. He has also received multiple academic first-team all-state honors and anticipates majoring in Criminal Justice.

“Carson brings versatility in being able to play both forward positions and the athleticism and physicality that we need in the Horizon League. Our fans are going to enjoy watching him,” said Brannen.

From NKU Athletics/Image provided

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