MACON, Ga. — Mercer basketball's Ethan Stair wrapped up his Bear career back in March, but Mercer fans will be able to catch him this summer in The Basketball Tournament as he competes for a shot at his share of $1 million.
Stair will join Men of Mackey, the Purdue Alumni team in The Basketball Tournament. Utilizing his one-year connection with Head Coach Greg Gary.
"I'm just really fortunate that Coach Gary hooked up me up with that," Stair said.
Gary spent eight years at Purdue as an assistant under Matt Painter. He got a call from one of his former players asking for Stair after other alumni players were unable to play.
"It's about building relationships and you know this in your business, in any business, it's about building relationships and doing a good job where you are so that opportunities like this you can help guys with," Gary said. "It really helps guys trust you and that's what it's about, helping each person as much as you can be successful."
The Basketball Tournament, also known as TBT, is a 24-team single elimination tournament that airs on ESPN. Teams are typically full of alumni of major college basketball programs, former NBA players and overseas talent battling for a shot at $1 million or more.
"I remember watching them when it started back in high school and I remember watching Jimmer Fredette's team, and I was like 'I want to get a team one day'," Stair said. "It's cool to represent Mercer this way."
Stair finished his career at Mercer with over 1,000 points and 600 rebounds. He'll bring high energy to the Men of Mackey.
"I just kind of want to figure out my role on that team. One thing I'm always going to do is play as hard as I possibly can," Stair said.
"He's going to fit in. He's going to do whatever it takes to try and help that team win. That's one of the things that kind of epitomizes Purdue and how they play. He fits right in with that," Gary said.
Stair will use this as a chance to see how he stacks up against pro level players and a potential pro career.
"It's a going to be a great experience for me to be able to live like a professional athlete for two weeks. This is going to be really eye opening for me to see how much I need to work to get to where those guys are," Stair said.
Stair has aspirations beyond the game as well. He wants to open up a training facility in his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama to teach kids basketball and important life skills like the value of hard work.
The Basketball Tournament begins on July 4.
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