After averaging a team-best 15.1 points per game in his team’s first season as a member of the Southern Conference, Mercer guard Ike Nwamu has asked to be released from his scholarship and the request was granted by head coach Bob Hoffman. News of Nwamu’s decision was first reported by Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com.
Having completed his undergraduate coursework, Nwamu will be eligible immediately at the school of his choice next season as a fifth-year player. The 6-foot-5 guard also averaged 3.3 rebounds per game this season, shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Nwamu played his freshman season at Cleveland State in 2011-12, and he was a valuable reserve on the 2013-14 Mercer team that upset Duke in the NCAA tournament Round of 64. In a story written by Daniel Shirley of the Macon Telegraph, Hoffman confirmed the report that Nwamu would be moving on.
“He has gotten his release, and he has had some schools that have shown interest,” Hoffman said. “He’s a fifth-year guy, and he’s graduating, and he’s exploring what’s out there. I want whatever is best for him and want it to work out for him.”
In addition to Nwamu the Bears, who won 19 games and finished 12-6 in SoCon play, will have to account for the loss of senior forwards Darious Moten and T.J. Hallice. Mercer will lose its top three scorers, with rising senior guards Phillip Leonard (8.1 ppg) and Jibri Bryan (7.8 ppg) being their leading returning scorers.
Leonard and Bryan started all 35 games for the Bears in 2014-15.
Midnight Madness festivities are known for being fan-friendly and catering towards students and casual college basketball fans to get them fired up for the upcoming season.
So, naturally, dunk contests become a big production at many schools.
Mercer had a dunk contest at their festivities on Friday night and 6-foot-5 junior guard Ike Nwamu stole the show.
Nwamu puts down many insane dunks, including this dunk in slow motion, jumping over his willing participant with a ferocious under-the-legs dunk.
As Mercer’s most experienced returner from last season’s NCAA Tournament team, Nwamu will be expected to put up decent numbers this season after averaging 8.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game last season. But for now, Nwamu is putting up highlight-reel dunks and I haven’t seen a better one from Midnight Madness festivities yet.
Coming off of a very successful 2013-14 season that included an Atlantic Sun title and a win over Duke in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament, Mercer opted to extend the contract of head coach Bob Hoffman, the school announced in a release on Monday.
Mercer athletic director Jim Cole initially extended Hoffman’s contract in December to run through the 2017-18 season but after the tremendous season the Bears had — coupled with the pressure of other schools taking Hoffman — the school clearly felt compelled to give the additional extension.
“We’re extremely excited to have gotten this deal done,” Cole said in the release. “Under Bob’s leadership, the men’s basketball program has represented Mercer in the utmost fashion on and off the court. While the team’s recent accomplishments have been truly remarkable, we look forward to a bright future for the squad with Bob at the helm.”
Hoffman owns a 126-82 record in six seasons at Mercer and the team has won a postseason game in three consecutive seasons. Hoffman also led Mercer to a 27-9 record last season, which tied a Mercer school record for single-season win total.
“I’m thrilled about all the things that have transpired with our program and the overall direction of the university,” Hoffman said in the release. “The support we continue to receive from President Underwood, Jim Cole and everyone associated with the university is crucial to our success, and we’re excited to see what we can accomplish in the days ahead.”