Dick Vitale loves to talk about the "BMOC" (Big Man on Campus) during the length of his commentary of a college basketball game.
Daniel Emerson is literally a "Big Man on Campus."
Listed at 6’8", Emerson is a muscular force in the post despite not playing like a true center. He can hit the three-pointers just as easily as he can hit the jumper from mid-range and his tenacity on the glass is unequaled.
As one of the best returning rebounders in the country, Emerson has become a crucial part of the Bears’ game on the court during the past year.
Transferring to Mercer after two years of limited playing time at Western Kentucky, Emerson has been an automatic contributor on offense and defense averaging more than a double-double each game.
The last in a line of a talented basketball family (brothers Scott and Will also played at Mercer and dominated opponents inside), the St. Mary’s, Georgia native hopes to put the Bears over the top this season and push them into the NCAA tournament for the first time in a long while.
The BearZone caught up with the busy big man to talk about his goals for the season and his adjustments to Mercer during the past two years.
BearZone: What are you hoping to accomplish in your final season here at Mercer?
Emerson: This may sound really cliché but just win a conference championship. I don't care at all about individual accomplishments anymore; I had an opportunity to achieve all that last year. I just want to win this year, badly. I can be the first in my family to go to the NCAA tourney!
BearZone: How did injuries slow you down last year and what was the hardest part of rehabbing through those injuries? (Emerson battled through shoulder injuries for a good part of last season.)
Emerson: The injuries were tough for a while and then you adapt to them. After I started getting shots before every game (for the pain) it got much easier as the pain subsided for most of the game.
The toughest part of rehabbing was just not playing basketball for six months and not being able to lift weights. Watching yourself shrink day by day sucks!
BearZone: Why the move to Mercer from Western Kentucky? What do you like more about Mercer?
Emerson: When I first came here it was mainly because I grew up watching both of my brothers play here. I had known Coach Slonaker since I was 11 and decided if I was going to play anywhere else then it was going to be for him at Mercer.
The main thing that I like about Mercer more than Western Kentucky is that Mercer has James Florence. I didn't have a James Florence at Western Kentucky; it was much less fun to watch basketball.
BearZone: Have you found your place in Hoffman's run-n-gun offense? What do you expect your role to be this season?
Emerson: I definitely think I have found my role here. Offensively, I am needed to rebound as much as possible and finish when I get the ball around the basket. I try to take charges and help everyone as much as possible defensively.
BearZone: What are your goals going into each game?
Emerson: I think my goals this season will just be to stay aggressive for the entire game and rebound as hard as possibly when I'm in the game.
I want to try to average eight-plus rebounds per game again and cut down on my turnovers big time from last season. A double-double sounds like a very ambitious goal this season, so we'll go with that.
BearZone: Why should the average student come out to the games this year? What about the team makes the games exciting?
Emerson: I think the average student should come check us out for a couple of reasons. First, we have a much more athletically gifted team this season and we are playing even faster than we did a year ago. Secondly, we have studs like EJ Kusnyer, Brian Mills, Jeff Smith, and Ted Price on the team this year.
What more do girls need to entice them to come out than that??