Interviews, editing and compilation by Johnathan McGinty and Thomas Ehlers
Mercer men’s basketball
Underdog stories are built on belief, and there was no doubt among the 2014 Mercer men’s basketball team. The Bears cruised to the conference title, boasted the top mid-major conference player in the country and captured a spot in March Madness, a dream scenario for most mid-sized schools. That, however, was just the start of something that would grow bigger than themselves.
BRIAN GERRITY, executive director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation: It’s funny, that game, the way I think of it is that game is the biggest moment in Mercer history. Win or lose, that game is as big of a stage as Mercer will ever be on. Right?
ANTHONY WHITE JR, Mercer men’s basketball player: It was surreal. You’ve got to think, the only thing a lot of people in the country saw was us winning that game. They didn’t see all of the practices, all of the conditioning sessions, all of the weightlifting, all of the other stuff come into play.
JANE HEETER, Mercer journalism student: I mean, Mercer is small and that’s partly why I wanted to go there. This type of thing was what I had hoped for and what I felt like was possible going to a small school like Mercer.
This is the story of one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history, told through the perspectives of players, staff members, fans and journalists who were there.