Players prepare for the new season. (Mercer Basketball)
Players prepare for the new season.

Mercer Basketball

Mercer’s new faces on the hardwood

October 28, 2015

The 2015-16 Mercer Men’s Basketball team will feature five new faces donning orange and black this season as three freshman and two transfers join the squad.

 

Andrew Fishler, Center

A big man epitomizing the phrase at 7-foot-1, Andrew Fishler transferred from Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida, last year after playing two years at the community college.

Since it’s only a two-year school, Fishler decided to play the remainder of his two years of eligibility at Mercer because of the overall fit.

“It’s small; (I) feel at home,” Fishler said. “It’s a beautiful campus. Felt like I’d fit in better.”

Before redshirting in 2014, the Cumming native averaged 5.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game as a sophomore for the Commodores. In high school, Fishler utilized his height to register state records in single-game (18), season (212), and career (308) blocks.

While off the court, Fishler said he enjoys spending time with his family, especially on the water at Lake Lanier. On the court this season, he said he wants to “get a championship ring.

“Just to do the best that I can do — not be selfish with it.”

 

Desmond Ringer, Forward

The Mercer connection goes back to eighth grade for Desmond Ringer. The 6-foot-9 forward was first recruited by head coach Bob Hoffman before he reached Eagles Landing High School in McDonough, and even though the path to becoming a Bear wasn’t a direct route, Ringer now dons orange and black.

Ranked the seventh best prospect in Georgia and a three-star prospect by Rivals in the 2013 class, Ringer left the state for the University of South Carolina. But after a freshman year in which Ringer averaged 2.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 10.4 minutes played per game, he transferred to Mercer.

Along with his relationship with Hoffman, Ringer said he chose Mercer “to be closer to home.

“I just felt like it was an overall good look for me to come back home and play for Mercer,” he said.

Now, after being forced to sit last year because of transfer rules, Ringer will look to make noise on the court — just like does on the drums.

“After the Mercer Madness, I got on the drum set and killed the drums for a little bit,” Ringer said.

Even though he transfers with a high pedigree, Ringer said he just wants to help the team win.

“Just to help the team in any way I can, whether it be scoring rebounding, playing defense,” he said. “I just want to contribute and add onto the team we had last year.”

 

Cory Kilby, Forward

The 6-foot-7 forward, who can play the three or four position, joins the Bears out of Ada, Oklahoma, after averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior at Ada High School.

He said his biggest draw to Mercer was the comradery of the team.

“When I came on my visit, I really liked the guys,” Kilby said. “Really connected. It felt like a tight-knit group, and I really liked that.”

Kilby also called the coaches “really awesome” and noted them as another reason for his choosing to become a Bear. But, talking about himself, Kilby said he prefers a smaller, less formidable animal.

“My favorite animals [are] turtles,” he said. “Every time I see one in the middle of the road, I save it. I pull over and help it across the road.”

But turtles will not be the only thing Kilby will attempt to help this year.

“Coming in as a freshman, it’s kind of hard to come in straight as a leader, but I’d like to lead our team to a conference championship and regular season champions, as well,” Kilby said. “That’s what I’m focused on for this season.”

 

Ethan Stair, Guard

The 6-foot-5 guard out of Hazel Green, Alabama, joins the Bears after averaging 22.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game as a senior at Hazel Green High School.

Just as Kilby, Stair chose Mercer because of the team atmosphere.

“When I came on my official visit, just hanging out with the guys, they made me feel like I was at home,” Stair said. “They accepted me right away.”

Along with starring on the basketball court in high school, Stair also excelled in swimming, where he holds the school record for the 50 Free. At Mercer, he wants to keep the winning tradition alive.

“Just to win as many games as possible and try to get some championships going,” Stair said.

 

Jaylen Stowe, Guard 

The Mercer Bears have good memories in North Carolina. So this year, they tapped into the Tar Heel state’s basketball talent with Stowe, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Harrisburg, North Carolina, a town only two-and-a-half hours away from Raleigh, where the Bears knocked off Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Stowe comes to Macon after averaging 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists per game as a senior at Hickory Ridge High School. He noted one of the reasons he chose Mercer was its “past success they’ve had the past couple years.

“Coach Hoffman, Coach (Eaker), everybody that just really wanted to bring me in,” Stowe said. “I felt like I could become a better person and better basketball player.”

Off the court, he doesn’t stray far from the sport: He said he likes to play the video game NBA 2K, a favorite among the squad.

This season, he plans to “just continue to get better every day.

“I feel like these guys are really pushing me, and it has come a long way since the summer time,” Stowe said. “I know if I keep working hard, the sky’s the limit.”

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