Mercer Gaining Interest

Mercer Gaining Interest

Mack Mercer impressed in Fort Wayne at the GRBA Nationals with college coaches looking on. Read about his game, who was tracking his play and where his recruitment currently stands.

At the GRBA Nationals in Fort Wayne, one of the prospects drawing a lot of looks from college coaches was 2014 Indiana big man Mack Mercer from Plymouth High School.

The 6-foot-8 Mercer proved to be a game-changer on the offensive end with an incredible skill-set for a big man and tremendous feel for how to play.

Mercer uses his footwork and mobility in the post to score, but he also spends as much or more time facing the basket. He's a knockdown shooter from the perimeter, can handle the ball and is athletic enough to get by defenders and rise up to finish at the rim. As often as he's fouled, being a mobile big man, it's also a huge bonus that he's automatic from the free-throw line.

"I bring post play, but yet I can step out and hit the jumper, or go four-low like we have for AAU," Mercer said about his game. "I've been working on different aspects of my game to help me at the next level, because I'm not always going to be the tallest person."

He also showed value as a tremendous passer, and torched defenses whenever they tried to bring a double-team by finding an open man. Playing without the ball, Mercer showed great understanding of how to operate off of a ball-screen, how and when to post and also how to space the floor and pop to the open spot for a jumper.

The one part of his game he'll have to improve is his strength, and hopefully with that will come improvement as a rebounder and defender. Mercer has length and is active enough to get his hands on plenty of balls, and at times he'll keep plays alive by tipping a missed shot out to a teammate, but he could stand to produce more on the boards, especially when he goes against more college-sized opponents. On the defensive end, he's in the right spot and he's capable of blocking some shots with his length, but he rarely leaves his feet and needs to improve at holding his ground.

He mentioned in Fort Wayne that he's already taking steps to improve on this deficiency.

"Definitely strength and conditioning," he said, when asked where he felt he needed to improve before making the jump to college. "I've been working on that all summer, and hopefully it's going to pay off."

His offensive ability had coaches taking notice in Fort Wayne. In addition to Xavier assistant Travis Steele watching his games, Notre Dame had an assistant at all of his games and Butler head coach Brad Stevens checked him out a few times throughout the weekend.

"Right now I'm talking to Ball State, Indiana State, Butler, Notre Dame, Purdue, Xavier, Illinois State, Valparaiso, basically a lot of local schools around Indiana," Mercer said. "Indiana State and Ball State have really been recruiting me hard since the end of my school season."

As for visits, he hasn't setup official dates yet, but he already knows at least a few of the schools he's going to check out in August.

"I'm going to visit Xavier and Butler. I'll probably go on another visit to Indiana State and Ball State, maybe Notre Dame - it depends on who talks to me."

Currently, there is no timeline for Mercer's decision, but he also didn't say that he was waiting for something specific.

"It just depends on what situation I'm in. If some new school comes in and I like it… it just depends on what I'm feeling like," he explained.

With conference realignment taking place and plenty of new schools from all across the board showing interest, Mercer added that conference affiliation really isn't something that's factoring into his decision.

"I really don't care. I just want to play. It doesn't matter what conference I'm in. I'm just going to go out and play my hardest every night."

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