Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

South Florida Bulls basketball guards Mike Mercer and Anthony Crater arrested; Mercer's future with team in doubt

TAMPA — USF guard Mike Mercer's future with the basketball team is in jeopardy, coach Stan Heath said Saturday, after his second arrest in four months, Friday for marijuana possession.

Arrested with him was teammate Anthony Crater. They have been charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Both remained in jail awaiting $500 bond as of 8 p.m. Saturday.

Both were suspended from the team indefinitely. Neither Mercer (knee injury) nor Crater (not yet eligible as a transfer) was currently playing.

Heath said he would decide by Monday whether to dismiss Mercer from the team, something he has never done in his two decades as a college coach.

"The guys have to understand they represent not only themselves, but they represent their school, their families," Heath said after his team's 70-61 loss to No. 20 Villanova at the Sun Dome. "You make decisions … your commitment, your character, what you're all about. Those are things that are very important to me. … (This) is something I'm not going to accept in our program."

Mercer is under greater scrutiny than Crater, also a guard, because he was arrested in September for public consumption of alcohol.

Mercer transferred from Georgia, where he had been dismissed from the team in 2007 for what Georgia coach Dennis Felton called "being a disruption." Heath said he had talked to Mercer about the need for him to change his behavior after his last arrest.

"I don't think I necessarily said 'One more chance,' but he knew his back was against the wall," Heath said. "He swore to me he wouldn't cross the line. When you breach trust, that's not a good thing."

Mercer, a 22-year-old junior, isn't playing because of a season-ending knee injury last month. Crater, a 19-year-old freshman, is sitting out the season after transferring Jan. 5 from Ohio State.

According to police reports, the players were arrested by Hillsborough County Sheriff's officers at 11:56 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Bearss Avenue, close to USF's campus.

A blue Dodge Charger driven by Mercer, going north on Bruce B. Downs, "crossed three lanes of traffic and cut in front of" the arresting officer, causing him to brake, the report said. The car was pulled over at 11:15 p.m., and the officer reported that "the smell of marijuana was emitting from within the vehicle." A search of the car produced a "brown marijuana cigarette" under the passenger seat, where Crater was sitting, and both players told police they had knowledge of the marijuana and were "about to smoke it."

They were booked into the Orient Road Jail at 2:05 a.m. Saturday. Each was charged with possession of marijuana less than 20 grams, a first-degree misdemeanor that often results in community service, court fees and probation.

Mercer was arrested in September for public consumption of alcohol, also a misdemeanor. Charges were dropped after he completed a pretrial misdemeanor intervention program. Heath's discipline of Mercer for that arrest did not include a game suspension.

Both players could be competing for starting roles next season if they remain with the team. Mercer started all four games he played before injuring his knee, averaging 8.5 points.

South Florida Bulls basketball guards Mike Mercer and Anthony Crater arrested; Mercer's future with team in doubt 01/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 24, 2009 10:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.