Langston Hall sees the scouts and knows the double teams are coming. He’s heard the jawing by the other team’s bench and expects to draw the ire of opposing fans wherever he goes.
Still, Mercer University’s senior point guard remains unflappable and focused on one goal.
“The month of March means the NCAA Tournament,” said Hall after a 20 point, 4 assist, 4 steal performance in a 75-68 recent road win over rival Kennesaw State.
It’s was no secret to anyone in the arena that Hall is the engine that makes Mercer go, but is now appears Mercer has not only the talent and depth, but also the experience to play deep into March.
Hall admits it was a major disappointment when the Bears fell in the Atlantic Sun championship game last year to Florida Gulf Coast University.
“Last year in the championship game, I thought I was a little passive,” admits the 6-4 point guard from the Chamblee Charter School just outside of Atlanta. “I was trying to get their bigs in foul trouble and got a little out of my game.”
“Aggressive” was a word Hall used at least a half dozen times in the five minute interview.
“It’s important to get everyone else involved, but when we run the pick and roll- they made me more a shooter, but when they help, I can dish it off. I need to be aggressive and get a shot every time they leave me open.”
Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman said Hall has been aggressive this season, but Hall’s role as a coach on the floor makes him invaluable.
“Langston has amazing poise personally, and as a team leader,” Hoffman said.
As the accolades and numbers keep piling up for Hall, and the pro scouts keep coming out to check on the current state of his game, he says it’s fine that his teammates expect a lot from him, but in the end it may come down to defense.
“Our identity is defense and getting stops, I have to keep reminding the guys about that,” added the Mercer’s career leader in assists. “It’s hard for teams to score in the half-court against us.”
When it comes to defense, Hall also leads by example. His four steals against Kennesaw State helped hold off a rally by the Owls and push the Bears ahead for good down the stretch.
Mercer’s defense ranks near the top of the Atlantic Sun as they hold opponents to 68 points per game. Hall is quick to point out defense is all about effort. (Again spoken like a team leader.)
Even though Hall says it’s “team first,” he says he will also have to get better.
“Individually, I need to keep being aggressive and don’t just settle for 3’s,” sums up Hall.
There’s that word again.
Rick Limpert is an Atlanta-based writer who covers events, sports, and technology. You can follow him on Twitter at @RickRoswell.