A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKU adds talented recruits in JUCO standout Adheke, Ohio prep star Nelson

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

Northern Kentucky University head coach John Brannen announced Wednesday that the Norse have added recruits Silas Adheke and Adrian Nelson to the roster for next season.

Adheke, who played at Eastern Florida State College this season, committed to NKU in February. The 6-foot-9, 237-pound Adheke originally signed with the University of Evansville, where he redshirted as a freshman during the 2016-17 season.

Silas Adheke (Photo by Chloe Smith/NKU Athletic Communications)

Adheke asked for his release from Evansville last summer and enrolled at Eastern Florida State, where he averaged 7.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this season. He also helped Eastern Florida State post a 30-5 overall record and advance to the NJCAA national semifinals.

“Silas brings a maturity, physicality, toughness and a level of athleticism to our frontcourt,” Brannen said. “I’m really excited about his addition. He played at Evansville his first year before transferring to one of the nation’s top junior college programs in Eastern Florida. Silas’ physicality and toughness will translate well to our league.”

Eastern Florida State head coach Jeremy Shulman said NKU is getting an immediate impact player in Adheke. “Silas is an outstanding player, capable of playing at the high-major level, and he is an absolute steal for Northern Kentucky,” Shulman said. “The staff at NKU did an outstanding job recruiting Silas. He can rebound and block shots, but he is also an outstanding shooter.

“But above all, Silas is a flat-out amazing person, just an outstanding young man. NKU will be very excited to have Silas for the next three years.”

Adheke will have three years of eligibility at NKU. He is also an exceptional student, being named to the Missouri Valley Conference Honor Roll for posting at least a 3.2 grade point average while at Evansville.

A native of Nigeria, Adheke moved to the United States as a freshman in high school and played three years at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tenn. Adheke, who owns a 32-inch vertical jump and has a 7-foot-1 wingspan, was recruited by schools such as Kansas State, Southern Illinois, and Missouri State before choosing Evansville.

Adrian Nelson (Photo by Chloe Smith/NKU Athletic Communications)

Nelson arrives at NKU following a successful prep career at Pickerington Central High School, where he was a teammate of current Norse Jalen Tate. He is a physical, 6-foot-6 forward with rim-rattling capabilities, which were on display last December during the second quarter of Pickerington Central’s game against Groveport Madison when he broke a rim while dunking, earning the No. 4 spot on ESPN’s Top Plays.

Nelson averaged 14 points and nine rebounds per game as a senior, earning firsts team Ohio Capital Conference and District 11 honors.

“Adrian is another winner who took his team to the state tournament in Ohio,” Brannen said. “He has dynamic athleticism with great length and tremendous upside with his ability to play multiple forward positions. Adrian comes from a great family and we coveted him for a long time in the recruiting process.”

Adheke and Nelson join prep standouts Trevon Faulkner and Bryant Mocaby as incoming recruits. Faulkner and Mocaby signed national letters of intent in November.

Faulkner, a Mercer County High School hoops legend, was named the 2018 Mr. Basketball in Kentucky. The 6-foot-3 Faulkner averaged 26.5 points and 9.2 rebounds this season. He also scored more than 3,000 points in his career at Mercer County.

Mocaby, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, averaged nearly 20 points per game this season at Derby High School in Kansas. He led the Panthers to the 6A state semifinals and netted a total of 52 points in his final two games, including a 31-point effort against eventual champion Blue Valley Northwest. Mocaby is a prolific outside shooter who should step in and give NKU a threat from 3-point range.

“Along with Trevon and Bryant, we focused on recruiting young men who come from winning programs,” Brannen said. “Silas, Adrian and Bryant all finished the season in the semifinals of their state or national tournaments. Trevon went to the regional championship game.

“Coach (Chris) Shumate, Coach (Sean) Dwyer and Coach (Tim) Morris did an outstanding job of recruiting a class that will help sustain the championship culture that has been developed at NKU. Our fans will enjoy watching these future Norse.”

Last month, NKU squared off against Louisville in the opening round of the NIT. The Cardinals rallied in the second half and held off the Norse, 66-58, at the KFC Yum! Center. That’s after NKU captured the Horizon League regular-season championship. The Norse closed the season with a 22-10 record.

A year ago, NKU won the Horizon League Tournament and earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The Norse met the University of Kentucky in the first round and dropped a 79-70 decision in Indianapolis before a national television audience on CBS. NKU finished with a 24-11 record.

NKU is a combined 46-21 (.687) the past two seasons and is the winningest program in the Horizon League with a 30-10 (.750) mark against league opponents.

Contact Don Owen at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport

Related Posts

Leave a Comment