Make us your home page

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

  1. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame


    For Dave Andreychuk, the wait is finally over.

    Dave Andreychuk helped lead the Lightning to its only Stanley Cup in 2004.
  2. Rays appear close to landing Marlins shortstop Hechavarria


    Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.
  3. Timmy Claus is coming to town


    The circus is coming to town.

    Well, close enough.

    Timmy the Tebow is coming to Tampa Bay.

    It’s true. At least it could be. St. Timothy has been promoted by the New York Mets to high Class-A Port St. Lucie. If he stays promoted, Tebow should be in Tampa Bay for eight games beginning August 10 …

    Coming soon: Tim Tebow will hit Tampa Bay in August.
  4. Ranking Malik Zaire among 2017's top transfer quarterbacks


    The Florida Gators' Malik Zaire is among many transfers who could become starters at their new school. Here's how he stacks up in our rankings of top transfer quarterbacks:

  5. Lightning re-sign Yanni Gourde to two-year, one-way deal


    Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fightning to stay in pro hockey.

    Yanni Gourde seized his moment with six goals in 20 games as a callup last season.