Buffs Add Grad Transfer Mason Faulkner To 2021 Class
BOULDER – The University of Colorado men's basketball team has signed Mason Faulkner, a graduate transfer from Western Carolina, to play for the Buffaloes in 2021-22 head coach Tad Boyle announced on Friday.
A 6-foot, 1-inch, 190-pound guard from Glasgow, Ky., Faulkner averaged 17.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 53 games over two seasons with Western Carolina. He shot 42 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free throw line while averaging nearly 34 minutes per game.
Faulkner adds experience and depth to a Colorado squad that features only two scholarship upperclassmen – seniors-to-be Evan Battey and Eli Parquet – and nine underclassmen at this moment for the 2021-22 campaign. Faulkner joins a 2021 signing class that already ranks No. 13 in the nation, and tops in the Pac-12, according to 247Sports.com.
"Given what we lost from last year's team, due to graduation, and looking at the returning players that are coming back to next year's team Mason Faulkner is exactly what this team needed," Boyle said. "He's a guard who can score the ball, who can pass the ball, and he can make plays for himself and for others."
A self-proclaimed "student of the game" Faulkner's eye latched onto the Buffaloes during the 2021 NCAA Tournament and particularly outgoing All-Pac-12 Conference guard McKinley Wright IV.
"It's just the culture," Faulkner said. "Seeing those guys in the NCAA Tournament and win a game. Basically, how McKinley Wright played honestly; just seeing what he has done over his career and how everybody seems to be on the same page. It's obviously not going to be the same team as it was last year but I definitely want to help keep (Colorado) on the rise."
Faulkner, who had previously been recruited by current Colorado assistant coach Rick Ray six years ago while Ray was the head coach at Southeast Missouri State, had a chance to meet with the Buffaloes staff via zoom within the last couple of weeks. Although he's never traveled further west than Missouri, he was sold on Colorado and playing in the Pac-12.
"They've been recruiting me since I got into the (transfer) portal and basically it's the vision (of the program)," Faulkner said. "I just believe in what they have going on there. I feel like everyone has the same drive to win. That's my goal, I just I just want to win. And I feel like coach Boyle sees that just by the conversations that we had.
"Whatever may be my role, whatever I need to do to bring a 'W' every game. I'm here to be a team player and I just want to be a part of it. It's a great family atmosphere at Colorado and I really believe in what they have going on."
A two-time All-Southern Conference and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District pick, Faulkner led WCU at 16.9 points and 4.8 assists as a redshirt senior in 2020-21 as the Catamounts finished with an 11-16 record. He led the SoCon in assists while ranking ninth in scoring.
As a junior in 2019-20, Faulkner averaged 17.7 points and 6.0 rebounds and ranked 19th in NCAA Division I in assists at 6.0 per game.
"When I look at the guards that we have coming back, he's going to fit in perfectly and give us some experience in the backcourt and as well as add to our depth which, which we sorely needed," Boyle said. "So we're extremely excited about Mason, a proven scorer at the Division I level."
Faulkner will graduate in May from Western Carolina with his bachelor's degree in Communications with a minor in Sports Management.
Faulkner began his collegiate career at Northern Kentucky, playing two seasons for the Norse before transferring to WCU in 2018-19.
A former Kentucky Mr. Basketball finalist from Caverna High School, Faulkner led the commonwealth in scoring as a senior in 2015-16, averaging 35.9 points per game while also averaging 10 rebounds, four assists, and 2.1 steals per game. He finished his prep career with a school-record 3,148 career points scored and over 600 career rebounds.