The managers of the Mercer men’s basketball team formed their own team at the start of the year. The seven-man team made up of Hayden Hatfield, Evan Stair, Ryan Wise, Carson Heien, Jacoby Barry and James Bento is doing well, finding themselves ranked 13th in the nation.
None of the seven members know exactly who or when they thought to form a team, but it may have come from Hatfield.
“I really don’t really remember how it came about here, but last year I was at Troy and I know it’s pretty popular around the country,” Hatfield said. “Most teams have one nowadays I think.”
Hatfield made it into the second round of the NCAA Managers Tournament with Troy last year, a feat that some on the team want to achieve this year at Mercer.
“I think that’s what we’re gunning for this year, (to) make some tournament action,” Bento said.
Others like Stair are just looking to have fun playing a game they love with friends. Stair also said that the team has allowed them to have “grown really close.”
Hatfield, Bento and Stair all brought up that part of the team bonding includes coming up with nicknames for each other. Some of the nicknames have the same humor one might equate to dad jokes.
“Evan is ‘handrail.’ His last name is Stair, handrails staircase,” Hatfield said.
Stair then said that Hatfield’s nickname was “needle.”
“We call him ‘needle’ because his name is Hayden so like a needle in a haystack,” he said.
Stair also mentioned that Wise’s nickname was “ryaroni,” and that Heien wanted his to be “Andy Murray” because he believes he has a resemblance to the legendary tennis pro.
Besides Mercer, the other Southern Conference schools to have managers teams are Chattanooga, UNC-Greensboro, East Tennessee State and Western Carolina. And of those schools, Hatfield and Bento believe that ETSU was the toughest opponent yet.
“The ETSU game was pretty fierce. Pretty close game [and] might be rivalry going forward,” Hatfield said.
The managers still have some games left this season and there are hopes of postseason play in the managers’ tournament. You can find out more about the team and their schedule on their Twitter account, @ManagersMercer.