USF's Mercer arrested on public drinking charge
USF basketball player Mike Mercer, a transfer from Georgia who will be eligible to play for the Bulls in December, was arrested in Tampa early Saturday morning, charged with public consumption of alcohol.
Mercer, 21, was arrested by Hillsborough County Sheriff's officers at 3:21 a.m. Saturday and booked into county jail about two hours later. He remained there at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, held on $250 bond.
According to arrest reports, officers who were trying to get people to leave Studio Inc., a nightclub at 3603 W. Waters Ave., saw Mercer in a 2006 Dodge Charger in the parking lot of the adjacent Albertson's supermarket. After an officer asked him to leave, Mercer "questioned the law behind making him leave the parking lot," and at that point, the officer observed "an open bottle of Corona beer, as well as a half full glass of beer," according to the arrest report. The bottle and glass were in the center console of the vehicle, HCSO spokesperson Debbie Carter said. The arrest report states that Mercer was "driving" the car, but Carter said the car was not running.
Because of the proximity to the Albertson's liquor store, Mercer was charged with public consumption of alcohol within 500 feet of a licensed establishment, a violation of Hillsborough County ordinance. The arrest report identifies it as a misdemeanor. The liquor store at Albertson's closed at 11 p.m. on Friday night, four hours before the arrest.
"We're reviewing the situation, and once we have more information and all the facts, we'll have further comment," USF coach Stan Heath said in a statement released through the school's sports information department Saturday morning.
Adreana Arredondo, 19, identified by Carter as Mercer's girlfriend and a passenger in the car, was also arrested on a misdemeanor charge of obstructing or opposing an officer without violence after "interfering" with Mercer's arrest, Carter said. Arredondo, who identified herself as a Hooters server, was released on $500 bond at 9:19 a.m. Saturday.
Mercer, a 6-foot-4 guard, came to USF after being was dismissed from Georgia's basketball team in November after coach Dennis Felton called him "a disruption to the team." He was rated as the nation's No. 5 point guard in his recruiting class coming out of high school in Snellville, Ga., and is expected to play a significant role in USF's backcourt this season. He averaged 13.6 points per game as a freshman at Georgia in 2006-07 before suffering a knee injury that ended his season with 10 games to play.
"Sometimes a change of environment can be really helpful for a kid," Heath said in December of bringing Mercer to USF. "... We had a nice talk about his commitment to the school and being totally committed to our team, and he's on board. He's excited about it, and we're excited to have him."