Men's Basketball Season Wrap

Despite just missing out on the Region 19 Playoffs this season, Mercer men’s basketball had a lot of positives in the 2022-2023 season.  The Vikings improved by 10 wins this season, finishing 12-15 after going 2-24 in the 2021-2022 season.  The Vikings roster was all freshmen this season, leaving them a solid core to build around if most of the team returns.


Leading the way for the Vikings this season was freshman point guard Izaiah Johnson (Philadelphia, PA/Burlington City HS) who was named 1 st Team All-Region 19.  Johnson finished in the top 50 in the nation (NJCAA Division II) in eight different categories.  Johnson was 16 th in steals (64), 21 st in total points (509), 30 th in games started (27), 31 st in three point field goals made (65), 35 th in points per game (18.5), assists (116) and free throws made (100).  Johnson also finished 39 th in the nation in total field goals made with 172 on the season. 


Freshman shooting guard Jake Manuel (West Windsor, NJ/West Windsor-Plainsboro North) averaged 13.8 points per game and shot 40% from 3 point range.  Manuel made 67 three pointers in 27 games which was 42 nd best in the nation (NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball).  Manuel had many multiple three pointers in games throughout the season including six 3’s in a 79-64 win over SUNY Ulster in November.


Freshman Isham McClain (Pemberton, NJ/Pemberton HS) was one of the Vikings most consistent players who always played well on both ends of the floor.  McClain averaged 8.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game.  McClain finished 49 th in the nation in defensive rebounds with 156 in 27 games.


Freshman Anthony Rhodes (Trenton, NJ/Nottingham) was also a key contributor on both ends of the floor for the Vikings.  Rhodes averaged 6.5 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game.  Freshman forward Jason Mark (Broward City, FL/Blanche Ely HS) averaged 10.0 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game and was a strong presence for the Vikings in the 13 games he played.


Other contributors for the Vikings who played the entire season include freshmen guards Kristian Smith (Hamilton, NJ/Nottingham) who averaged 3.8 points per game and 1.5 assists per game in 17 games played and Gianni Blango (Willingboro, NJ/Rancocas Valley) who played in 24 of the Vikings 27 games, starting 11 games. 


Some highlights for the Vikings season include ending with a 62-54 win vs Harford on February 18 th.  Rhodes hit a game-winning buzzer beater vs Morris on January 14 th to give the Vikings a thrilling 56-54 win.  The Vikings also had a high-scoring 95-86 win vs Del Tech on Cancer Awareness Night on January 31 st


The Vikings had a chance to make the Region playoffs when they hosted Raritan Valley on Valentine’s Day, but lost a heartbreaker 67-70 to end their playoff hopes.


 Izaiah Johnson attempts a shot


  Jake Manuel ready to shoot


  Anthony Rhodes goes for a layup


 Isham McClain drives to the basket