Mercer beat Duke five years ago. Here are some of the players’ most memorable moments
It has been exactly five years since the final horn sounded in Raleigh, NC, the site of Mercer basketball’s upset of the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament.
The group was honored recently at a Mercer home basketball game. Here are some of their thoughts on the five year anniversary and how that moment impacted them then and now.
What do you remember about the Duke win?
Daniel Coursey: “I remember one thing very specifically about that game. I think it was in the first half. I was nervous. (Duke) had just scored on us and I was taking the ball out of bounds. I was trying to be slick and put my foot out, give it to (Langston) and start running. I did that and I guess there was a Duke player right there swiping at it. I basically threw the ball at Lang’s ankles and it bounced out of bounds...I was like, ‘How many millions of people just saw me do that?’.”
Anthony White Jr.: “I can always say I remember running out on the court. Running out with the guys and actually being where our ultimate dream and destination what we wanted to do, just making it to the tournament… I can never forget the shot I hit with two minutes to go to tie the game. And then the one moment that was unforgettable was when the clock hit zero and we were just like we did it. Then Kev (Kevin Canevari) doing the Nae-Nae.”
Kevin Canevari: “Just winning. Once that final buzzer went off we were all just ecstatic, you know obviously it was just a special time.”
How about that celebratory Nae-Nae and win that went viral across the world?
Kevin Canevari: “It was crazy. Definitely didn’t expect it to go viral the way it did. It was just such an exciting time. It really was an amazing journey.”
Anthony White Jr: “Walking back to the locker room and it is us plastered all over ESPN. It was just an awesome feeling.”
Do you remember anything from that season other than the Duke game?
Daniel Coursey: “That (University of South Carolina) Upstate game we still talk about that. If it wasn’t for TJ (Hallice), I fouled out at the end, I think Monty (Brown) had fouled out. Even after the Duke game we brought up TJ’s contribution in that (Upstate) game. It was literally the biggest play in that entire season.”
Langston Hall: “The biggest moment for all of us seniors was beating Florida Gulf Coast in the game before. Just because they put us out our sophomore year and our junior year. We owed those guys. So actually to do that . . . and having all our fans there it was definitely a special moment.”
Anthony White Jr.: “For me personally, I remember as a kid I always wanted to make the tournament. After beating Florida Gulf Coast, I broke down and ran to my mom and dad. Gave them hugs and cried. This was all I ever wanted to do was play in the tournament with the guys.”
Have you stayed in touch since graduation?
Daniel Coursey: “We talk to each other all the time. We are all in like a big group Snapchat. We are always messing around. I try to make it like a focus to try to Facetime or call people every couple months. ‘Cause I know everybody gets busy and we all live so far apart now… I want to keep those relationships going.”
Kevin Canevari: “It is a brotherhood. A lot of us came in as freshmen together. We had a big freshman class and we all stuck together . . . and we still stay in touch through group texts and other things. We try to meet up when we can. We were going on a cruise every year for awhile.”
What is it like to come back to Mercer and see the legacy you’ve left here?
Langston Hall: “Man, it’s crazy ‘cause when you are playing at Mercer and building that legacy you never think it is going to be this special. And to have led Mercer to one of the best teams in school history and beat Duke, man it’s special.”
Anthony White Jr.: “The hospitality is exactly the same. It is always good when people come back and tell you that they miss you. Just being back and seeing everybody, this room just has a buzz in it alone just of us being back. It is awesome.”