Every team needs a guy who meshes well with everyone. A guy who doesn’t care about the individual accolades or own success as long as the team comes out on top. For the Mercer Bears, that guy is Desmond Ringer.
Ringer is averaging 7.2 points a game and 5.1 rebounds a game for his career. Those numbers don’t scream superstar and Ringer is ok with that.
“I just feel like I’m the glue guy,” he said in a recording of the Cluster’s Podcast, Inside the Den. “I just want to win.”
Ringer was recruited by Mercer out of high school but chose the University of South Carolina where he played one season for the Gamecocks.
He struggled to find his way into the rotation only averaging 10 mins per game.
At the end of the season Ringer made the decision to transfer to Mercer where he sat out a season to comply with NCAA eligibility rules.
Ringer finally took the court last season and played in 23 games for the Bears, averaging a modest 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds.
But it wasn’t the first time he had played in front of Mercer coach Bob Hoffman.
Every year Ringer’s high school team competed in a tournament at Mercer. In his senior year, “the glue guy” came a bit unglued in front of his future college coach.
“I caught the ball in the middle of the paint, I took one dribble and exploded to the rim,” Ringer said. “As I exploded to the rim, my stomach exploded too. On the way down I realized I kinda boo booed on myself.”
Ringer ran from the court to the bathroom in the middle of the game. He said that his team played 4-on-5 for a bit while he was in the bathroom. Lucky for Ringer, he had already been offered a scholarship to play at Mercer before that game.
This earned him the nickname “boo boo boy” from his group of high school teammates.
Having been recruited by Mercer in high school, he had already developed a relationship with the coaches. This was part of why Ringer chose Mercer when he was looking to transfer — he says could have easily picked to go anywhere, but he chose Mercer and says he is happy with his decision.
“I could be anywhere averaging however many points I wanted to, but I want to be here with these guys with these coaches.” He said.
This year the team added eight new players and chemistry was an issue early in the season as the team looked to mesh.
Ringer has taken on the role of the leader inside the locker room and even his teammates agree he has been the glue that has held them together through a tough season.
“He is always keep us spirited, always picking us up,” Demetre Rivers said. “He has a big voice and affects us all in a big way.”
While Ringer has expanded his role as a leader he is also constantly working to expand his role on the court. He says “I am working on my craft.”
“I am trying to expand my jump shot to 15 feet. I can always shoot it, but just getting more comfortable shooting in the game,” Ringer said. “I dropped like 15 to 20 pounds from last year and came in this year in great shape.”
In the best basketball shape of his life, Ringer hopes that he can leave Mercer with a legacy that will be left in the rafters of Hawkins Arena.
“I want them to be able to see a banner up there. If they can see a banner then that’s going to speak for itself,” Ringer said. “You will be able to see all the hard work going into that banner and know that I was a part of it.”
For more on Ringer and other Mercer athletes check out the Inside the Den Podcast from The Cluster.