Jones, Mercer Earn Patriot League Honors
American University men's basketball senior Derrick Mercer has been named the Patriot League Player of the Year and head coach Jeff Jones has been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year, conference officials announced Monday.
Mercer is the only player in Patriot League history to record at least 1,200 career points and 500 career assists while Jones has guided the Eagles to back-to-back Patriot League Regular Season Championships. Seniors Garrison Carr and Brian Gilmore also picked up all-conference honors as Carr was named to the First Team and Gilmore to the Second Team.
Mercer was named the Patriot League Player of the Year and to the All-Patriot League First Team after averaging 11.5 ppg, 4.2 apg and 4.3 rpg this season. During conference play the Eagles point guard upped his game as he averaged 13.5 ppg, 5.2 apg and held a conference best 2.52 assist-to-turnover ratio. Mercer scored in double-digits 21 times this season while leading the team in scoring seven times. He totaled 11 games with five-plus assists and seven games of seven-plus assists. Mercer ranks in the Patriot League's top-10 in four statistical categories including second in assists (4.2), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9), seventh in field goal percentage (48.2) and ninth in steals (1.2). He is also 13th in the conference in scoring (11.5) and 20th in rebounding (4.3). The senior has recorded 1,230 career points and 502 career assists and is the only player in PL history to record at least 1,200 points and 500 assists. Mercer ranks third all-time in both the Patriot League and AU in career assists and is 21st all-time at American in scoring. Mercer also set program records for career appearances (120) and career starts (118) this season. This is Mercer's second major award from the conference as he was named the PL Rookie of the Year following his freshman season.
Jones earned his first Patriot League Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Eagles to a 21-7 overall record, a 13-1 record in conference play and the team's fourth PL Regular Season title in eight years. This year's squad is just the 10th in school history to win 20 games and recorded the program's best in-conference record since the 1980-81 team went 11-0 in the East Coast Conference. AU currently holds the third-longest winning streak in the nation at 10 games and has won 16 of its last 17 games. American has also recorded a program record and NCAA best 11 road wins this season and matched the best out of conference record under Coach Jones with an 8-6 mark. Coach Jones's squad currently ranks first in the PL in five statistical categories including scoring defense (58.5 ppg), scoring margin (+5.3), field goal percentage (.460), three-point percentage (.373) and assist to turnover ratio (0.98). Jones became the winningest coach in AU history this season with an overall record of 146-120 (.549) at the school.
Carr was named to the All-PL First Team for the second straight year after ranking second in the conference in scoring at 17.5 ppg and first in three-point field goals with 95. Carr averaged 16.7 ppg during conference play, tops in the league. The senior guard also ranks sixth in the conference in free-throw percentage (77.9) and seventh in three-point percentage (37.8). Carr is third all-time in conference history with 283 career three-pointers and is second all-time at AU. Carr was also named to the First Team All-PL last season.
Gilmore earned his first All-Patriot League honor after ranking eighth in the conference in scoring at 11.8 ppg and eighth in rebounding at 5.5 rpg. Gilmore also ranks fourth in field goal percentage (51.5), third in three-point percentage (41.6) and 14th in assists per game (2.07). The senior has recorded career-highs in nearly all statistical categories this season including points (329), rebounds (153), field goals (118), three-pointers (42) and assists (58). Last season Gilmore was named to the PL All-Tournament Team.
American captured its second-consecutive PL Regular Season Championship this season and earned the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the PL Tournament. The Eagles begin tournament play on Wednesday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m. against Lafayette in Bender Arena.