As the 2023-2024 basketball season approaches, here is what to expect from Mercer’s men’s and women’s teams this year.
The men’s team will play its first game at home on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., taking on the Clark Atlanta Panthers. The team will also play two SEC opponents this season: Alabama on Nov. 17 in Tuscaloosa and Georgia on Dec. 1 in Athens. Southern Conference play will start in January as the team takes on Eastern Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. The SoCon tournament will be from March 7 to March 11 in Asheville, N.C.
The Bears are welcoming 10 new players this season and will see five returners from last year. Jalyn McCreary ‘24 and Michael Zanoni ‘26 are the only two players on the team who played in all 33 games last season. McCreary led the team in scoring last season, averaging 15.2 points a game, and he was named to the Preseason All-SoCon team this year. Jah Quinones ‘26 is another returner who is likely to be a leader for the Bears this season. Last season, Quinones was named to the SoCon All-Freshman team after featuring in all but one game, scoring in double figures in seven contests.
Last season, the Bears finished with a 14-19 overall record, going 6-12 in SoCon play. After winning in the first round of the SoCon playoff tournament, they fell in the second round to Furman who went on to win the SoCon title. The preseason SoCon coaches’ poll predicted Mercer to finish in 6th place.
The women’s team will also start on Nov. 6, when they will travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky to take on Western Kentucky University. The team’s first home game will be on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. against Florida Atlantic University. The Bears’ "big-name games" this season will be against ACC opponent Clemson on Nov. 12 in Clemson and SEC opponent Georgia on Nov. 17 in Hawkins Arena.
The team will see five returners and seven new faces this season with the big returners being Summah Evans ‘24 and Enjulina Gonzalez ‘26. Evans was named the 2022-2023 SoCon Defensive Player of the Year as well as being named to the SoCon All-Defensive Team the same year. She led the team and was tied for eighth in the SoCon with 6.5 rebounds per game, and scored double-digits in seven games. Gonzalez was named to the SoCon All-Freshman team after playing in 28 games, making 15 starts. She shot 51.2% from the field, good for fifth in the SoCon and first on the team. This season, Gonzalez was named to the Preseason All-SoCon team as a sophomore.
The team finished last season with a 12-16 overall record, and a 8-6 record in the SoCon. The team lost a tight game in the first round of the SoCon playoffs to UNC-Greensboro. The SoCon preseason coaches’ poll predicted Mercer to finish third in the conference.