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Starting spots up for grabs as Mercer enters preseason camp

Mercer Head Coach Bob Hoffman watches on during the annual Orange-Black Scrimmage at Hawkins Arena. /(Luke Hetrick, WGXA)

MACON, GA -- All five starters, six seniors and the top seven scorers from a season ago return for the Mercer Men's Basketball Team this season.

With talent and experience returning, the Bears factor in to the SoCon's March Madness representative conversation. The continuity and familiarity will help Mercer but there's no guarantees for starting spots according to Head Coach Bob Hoffman.

"You don't ever have anything set in stone," Hoffman said, "but I'm sure they have legs up."

The anticipated starting five (Jordan Strawberry, Ria'n Holland, Demetre Rivers, Stephon Jelks, Desmond Ringer) all return for their senior seasons in addition to major firepower coming off the bench.

"You have Ethan Stair who started the end of his freshman year and didn't play last season," Hoffman said. "We have Rashad Lewis, another senior who played minutes and had tremendous moments for us last year."

Tremendous moments were shared up and down the roster a year ago for the Bears. Finishing games remains an issue. Eleven of the Bears 17 losses came by 10 points or less last season.

The resiliency and attitude along with talent is expected to be a huge boost for the Bears this year.

"There's lots of guys to help this team win," Hoffman said. "I think that's what they see and what they understand."

Mercer opens the season November 10 on the road at UCF.

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