This time around, Mercer is a different player. The 6-foot-9 forward has packed on 20 pounds and it has changed his game. He is a stronger defender and better rebounder, complimenting his stellar offensive package. As a result, his recruitment continues to rise.
"I think [college coaches] kind of noticed that," Mercer said. "They've been showing more interest because I've been playing stronger."
Mercer holds offers from Ball State, Belmont, Boston College, Indiana State, Kent State, Loyola, Miami, Rice, Valparaiso, Vermont and William & Mary. Additionally, he's received interest from Purdue, Michigan, Mississippi State and Northwestern, among others.
More interest could be coming after a strong showing in the Adidas Invitational, playing alongside Division I talents like Bryant McIntosh and Sam Logwood on the Eric Gordon All Stars. Mercer is the leading big man for his team and coaches have been taking notice of his play.
"It's definitely an awesome experience, getting to play against great players in front of these college coaches," Mercer said. "It's just a blessing to be able to do it. This is my last summer doing it, so I'm trying to leave it all out on the floor."
Purdue head coach Matt Painter has been one of those coaches watching Mercer in action. Before the tournament in Indianapolis began, Painter called Mercer and said he'd be evaluating carefully.
"I figure if I rebound and play defense, that's really what they're wanting to see from me," said Mercer. "I can score the ball, but they want to see me play a complete game, all around."
Mercer is looking for a style of play that best fits his game. With the improvements he has made, he'll be a fit in just about any system. More offers are sure to find the three-star forward.
A decision for Mercer won't come until September, following a group of official visits.
"I want to get out there and see a couple more colleges," he said, "see what it's like, before I make my college decision."
If he continues to excel on the summer circuit, he'll have more options to pick from.