Ronald Eugene Mercer (born May 18, 1976) is an American former professional basketball player. After his career at the University of Kentucky, Mercer played for several teams in the National Basketball Association.
He was selected with the sixth overall pick of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics and was reunited with fellow Kentucky teammate Antoine Walker, and 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. It turned out it was
Prior to the 2004–05 season, he signed with his seventh NBA team, the New Jersey Nets.
On August 15, 2005, prior to the 2005–06 NBA season, 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.
Before the 2003–04 season, he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a three-team trade that again involved Brad Miller and the Sacramento Kings’ Hedo Türkoğlu. After playing 39 games with the Spurs, he was released.
Career highlights and awards
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1998)
NCAA champion (1996)
Consensus first-team All-American (1997)
SEC Player of the Year (1997)
2× Tennessee Mr. Basketball (1993, 1994)