Oklahoma State athletics

Former West Virginia forward Maciej Bender (25) is transferring to Mercer, where he’ll be eligible as a junior for the 2019-20 season.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Former West Virginia forward Maciej Bender will transfer to Mercer and reunite with his high school coach.

On May 7, Mercer added assistant Paul Mrozik, who coached Bender for two seasons at Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Va.

“Maciej is an exceptionally skilled big man who can do a lot of things on the court,” Mrozik told the university’s website. “He has a great ability to put the ball on the floor and has a nice shooting touch from both inside and outside. He has very quick feet for a player his size and has a very high basketball IQ. Maciej has the ability to see the floor, pass the ball and is an extremely efficient big man.”

A four-star recruit per ESPN and a three-star prospect according to Rivals in 2016, Bender struggled to earn playing time at West Virginia. At 6-foot-10, he averaged 1.3 points and 1.7 rebounds while playing 9 minutes per game as a sophomore. During the final 22 games last season encompassing Big 12 action, the conference tournament and three NCAA games, Bender played five minutes or fewer 11 times.

Though Bender made only 1-of-9 attempts from 3-point range over two seasons with the Mountaineers, he could be more comfortable in an offensive system that allows him to face the basket as he learned growing up in Poland.

“We’re extremely thrilled to have Maciej join our program,” Mercer coach Bob Hoffman said. “He will be a tremendous addition in every phase of the game. He has an amazing skill set that allows him to pass, dribble and shoot the ball at a very high level for a player his size. I believe he will fit in extremely well with our team and provide us with tremendous upside in virtually all areas.”

With a top-30 recruiting class incoming, West Virginia saw three transfers exit recently. Freshman Teddy Allen announced he’ll join Wichita State, and junior D’Angelo Hunter is headed to Nichols State, the defending champs of the Southland Conference.

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