Team preview: Mercer

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Mercer coach Mark Slonaker spent most of last season in the run-and-gun A-Sun feeling like a man who had brought a knife to a sword fight.

But instead of hitting the recruiting trail in search of a bigger blade, Slonaker instead has decided to invest in some armor.

"Last year's team was the worst defensive and rebounding team I've had since I've been here," Slonaker said. "We're going to be a lot better defensively."

The other factor in Mercer's 9-19 season was the lack of a point guard after the dismissal of Damitrius Coleman. Coleman led the NCAA in assists (8.0 apg) in 2004-05, prompting Slonaker to switch offenses to better utilize his stellar point guard.

But when Coleman left the team, nobody was able to fill the void and the Bears weren't able to find an offensive flow when it mattered the most.

So although Slonaker doesn't have a single player returning who averaged in double-figures last season, he thinks the Bears have a good chance of being a much-improved team.