The Mercer men’s basketball team has begun the season winning five of eight games, and they’ve done so with a roster that is primarily made up of freshman.
Last year, the Vikings were led by 2012 NJCAA All-American Mustafa El-Amin, who won’t be playing this season because he failed to meet academic requirements. Also 2012 second team All-Region selection Fillip Sekulic has transferred to Chestnut Hill to play at the division II level.
“I think the experience and a little bit of the toughness is where you sort of miss those two guys, but particularly on defense,“ said sixth year head coach Howard Levy.
This years team, which is led by sophomore captains Kevin Allison and Mike Douglas, has averaged 75.8 points per game thus far. That puts the Vikings on pace to finish with their highest scoring average since Levy took over as coach at the beginning of the 08-09 season.
Most of the scoring has come from freshman guards Deshante Alexander and David Johnson, and freshman forward D’Andre Parmley. All three played high school ball in Philadelphia, and through the first eight games of the season, they all average double digit point totals.
“So far we’ve meshed fairly well. We haven’t had trouble scoring, but the other team hasn’t had much trouble scoring either,” said Levy.
The Vikings have allowed 77.5 points per game so far. Also putting the Levy coached Vikings on pace for a season high.
Coach Levy remains optimistic that his team will be able to figure things out defensively. “My history here at Mercer shows that we’ve struggled early and gotten a lot better as the season progresses. It definitely is a process but I feel that these guys have been able to pick things up pretty quickly.”
The-six foot-ten Levy played center for four years at Princeton University, and also served as an assistant coach there from 1996 to 2007. The “Princeton-offense” has become famous throughout basketball for how successful it has made teams but simply stressing the fundamentals of the game.
“That’s just the way I know how to coach.. The quote un quote Princeton offense is about learn how to play, and developing your skills to the point where you can do what the defense tells you to do.”
Levy has coached the Vikings to three of the last four region 19 championships, winning one of them.
When asked if he thinks this years team has the potential to return to the finals yet again, he replied, ““I’m not a predictor. Really the culture we’re trying to instill with these guys is not even to look at a game, but to look at a possession.”
Visit www.mccc.edu/athletics/schedule_mbasketball_13-14 to see who the Vikings will face on their road to the 2014 Region 19 playoffs.