USF coach Heath dismisses guard Mike Mercer
Guard Mike Mercer was dismissed from the USF basketball team, coach Stan Heath announced Monday.
"He's disappointed. He's pretty devastated," Heath said. "He just feels like he's snakebit in some ways. Unfortunately, he's got to make better decisions."
Mercer, a junior, and teammate Anthony Crater were arrested late Friday night on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana. They were released from jail Sunday. Mercer had previously been arrested in September on a misdemeanor charge of public consumption of alcohol. He had transferred from Georgia after being dismissed from that program by coach Dennis Felton for being "a disruption to the team." He became eligible in December but tore his ACL and was out for the rest of this season.
Heath said Mercer would remain on scholarship through this season and could graduate in the summer. Heath said he waited until Monday to finalize his decision.
"I didn't want to make any emotional decisions," Heath said. "In the first 24 hours, you have to be careful with that, but my thoughts really never wavered."
This was the first offense at USF for Crater, who transferred in from Ohio State earlier this month. Heath said he would remain with the program on a "probationary status." "He's very aware. He knows," Heath said. "His life's not going to be very exciting for a while here.
"(For) any athlete ... it's a privilege to play sports at any level, whether it's Division III or Division I," Heath said. "You can't just think about yourself. You're representing more than just yourself. We all know kids make mistakes -- we all were in college, probably made mistakes, but at some point in time, you get Chance No. 1, get Chance No. 2, at some point in time if you're not making adjustments, the program is bigger than what you are."
-- Freshman forward Gus Gilchrist has been named Big East Rookie of the Week after averaging 17 points and nine rebounds in two games, including USF's win against DePaul on Tuesday night. It's his first weekly honor -- USF guard Dominique Jones earned the weekly nod four times last season.