Monday, February 1, 2010
Mercer Signs Big Class in Men's Basketball for 2010-11
J. Andrew Lockwood
Senior Editor / Beat Report
With the departure of Mercer’s senior class after this basketball season, some big shoes will be left to fill in head coach Bob Hoffman’s third year. However, until next season, Hoffman will continue to rely on a senior class that includes the Bears’ all-time scoring champion in James Florence, a powerful big-man in Daniel Emerson, and a three-point threat in E.J. Kusnyer.
So why look ahead to next season and the recruiting class in February? The answer is simple. It’s because they’re that good and could have an immediate impact next season.
Headlining next year’s class is power forward Paul Larsen (6-6, 220) from Lake Norman (N.C.). Ranked as the #109 power forward in this year’s high school class and an 85 overall by ESPN.com, Larsen might have a legitimate chance to battle for a starting position inside with his size and energy. During his high school career, Larsen has shot over 66% from the field averaging 14.8 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game.
“Paul is an active rebounder, relentless in pursuing the ball and has tremendous energy,” commented Hoffman during the recruiting release on MercerBears.com. He added, “He’s a tough kid and brings a much needed presence after we lose some senior post players this season.”
Joining Larsen are four in-state players, two hailing from the Atlanta area and the other two teammates at a Savannah-area school. Centennial High product Jeremy Burgess played much of his high school ball at Athens Academy before transferring, but boast plenty of athleticism on his 6-5, 185 lb frame as a guard. Burgess’s shooting is what caught Hoffman’s eye as he averaged 18 points per game as a junior.
The other Atlanta-area player joining the Bears for the 2010-11 season is Chamblee High’s Langston Hall. Recruited as a point guard, Hall was highly praised by his high school coach Caesar Burgess as he told MercerBears.com, “Mercer is a great fit for Langston and Mercer really wanted him. He’s a great kid with great character and I wouldn’t trade him for any other player in the state. He’s one of the most valuable kids I’ve ever coached.” Hall certainly has the offensive statistics to back up the praise, averaging 14 points per game, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds last season.
The last two signees hail from Savannah’s Benedictine Military School as the marked the fourth and fifth recruits of the class. Guard Jibri Bryan was the offensive spark on his high school’s team, averaging 19.4 points per game and 9.9 rebounds last season while 6-3, 170 lb Daniel Coursey is known for his shot-altering skills in the post position. Coursey’s sister Anna currently plays for Mercer’s volleyball team while his other brother Stephen is also attending as a sophomore. Benedictine’s head coach Jason Helton had plenty of praise for both players, offering, “They both have a great work ethic that you don’t see to often in high school. They’re great guys who have a tremendous amount of desire to succeed.”
With these five recruits, Hoffman addresses needs at all positions on the floor as several key players graduate at the end of the season.