Mercer kicked off USF hoops team
Decision comes after South grad's marijuana arrest

Mike Mercer relocated his life and basketball career to Tampa, but unfortunately problems still followed the former South Gwinnett star.

One of those problems cost Mercer his spot on the South Florida men's basketball team on Monday, when head coach Stan Heath dismissed him from the program. Heath made the tough decision after Mercer was arrested last Friday night on charges of marijuana possession, his second arrest in four months.

He was arrested in September and charged with public consumption of alcohol.

"(Mercer's) disappointed and pretty devastated," Heath told the Tampa Bay Tribune on Monday. "He just feels like he's snakebitten. Unfortunately, he's just got to make better choices.

Heath told the Tampa paper his decision wasn't rushed.

"I didn't want to make any emotional decisions; the first 24 hours you've got to be careful of that," he said. "But my thoughts never really wavered."

Mercer played in just four games for South Florida this season, averaging 8.5 points and 31.3 minutes before tearing the ACL in his knee in December. Before the season-ending injury, the 6-foot-4 Mercer struggled with his shooting, making just 34.8 percent of his field goals, including just 1 of 14 from 3-point range.

Mercer, who played on South's 2004 state title team, also tore an ACL at Georgia, where he averaged 13.6 points as a sophomore. Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton gave the guard a 15-game suspension for failing to follow the school's academic policy. Felton then dismissed him from the team in November 2007.

With his South Florida career over, Mercer will have college eligibility left for the 2009-10 season if he transfers to a Division II or NAIA school.