Ronald (Ron) Eugene Mercer (born May 18 1976 in Nashville, Tennessee) is a former American Basketball player at the University of Kentucky who also had a career in the National Basketball Association, most recently for the New Jersey Nets.
Ron Mercer was twice named "Mr.Basketball" of Tennessee while at Goodpasture Christian School in Madison, Tennessee. He then transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson,Virginia and was rated by Bob Gibbons to be the best prep player of the class of 1995, over Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury.
Mercer had a very successful collegiate career and was part of a national championship team in his freshman year. He was selected with the 6th overall pick of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics and was reunited with Rick Pitino, his coach at Kentucky who had just become the coach of the Celtics. Prior to Mercer's drafting, Pitino was recorded as saying that he did not envisage Mercer as having the necessary talent to be selected very high. Some felt this was just a ploy to scare the other teams away from him so as to increase the likelihood of Mercer being available by the time the Celtics got an opportunity to make their draft selection.
After two seasons in Boston, Mercer was traded by the Celtics along with Popeye Jones and Dwayne Schintzius to the Denver Nuggets for Danny Fortson, Eric Williams (basketball), Eric Washington and a future draft choice. He played 37 games for Denver in 1999-2000, then played the final 31 games that year with the Orlando Magic due to a trade.
He left after that season, the next year signing as a free agent with the Chicago Bulls. He averaged 19.7 points per game in his first year with them.
Despite Mercer's 16.8 points per game in 2001-02, he was traded midway through the season with Brad Miller (basketball), Ron Artest and Kevin Ollie to the Indiana Pacers for Jalen Rose, Travis Best, Norman Richardson, and a second-round draft pick. In Indiana he served merely as a reserve player, and his play declined rapidly over his one and one-half season stint with the club.
Before the 2003-04 season, he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a three-team trade that again involved Brad Miller (basketball) and the Sacramento Kings' Hedo Türkoğlu. After playing 39 games with the Spurs, he was released. Prior to the 2004-05 season, he signed with his seventh NBA team, the New Jersey Nets.
On August 15, 2005, prior to the 2005, Mercer was waived by the Nets to avoid the league's luxury tax as part of the new labor agreement. He has not played in the league since.
Off the courtEdit
In August 2007, Mercer surrendered to police to face a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from an alleged fight at a strip club on April 21. It was claimed Mercer punched a bouncer in the face. On July 17, 2008 Mercer pled guilty and received probation for his role in the fight. The case was handled in front of Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier with District Attorney Wesley King and Jennifer McMillen disposing of the case.
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