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Special Photo/Fran Ruchalski Jacksonville redshirt junior Christin Mercer, a Douglas County High product, is making the most of a second chance. She is averaging 10.9 points per game for the Dolphins.

Fran Ruchalski

Christn Mercer seemed to have it all together after graduating from Douglas County High in 2012.

She was going to be a hometown hero as she was starting to blossom in the SEC in basketball at Florida.

But a quick out of character mistake was turning her into a hometown embarrassment.

As a sophomore at Florida, Mercer was a major contributor for the Gators and starting to make a name for herself in one of the best women’s basketball conference’s in the country.

An off-the-court weekend incident almost ended her career.

According to published reports, Mercer was involved in a home invasion and was supposedly the driver of the getaway car in the incident. She was arrested after police traced her through cellphone records and released on her own recognizance.

She had originally faced a third-degree felony charge but it was reduced after Mercer fully cooperated with investigators. She was given probation and was able to resume what was becoming a promising basketball career.

According to Tonya Jackson, an assistant at Douglas County High, Mercer had a choice of returning to Florida to resume her career.

However, she wanted a fresh start.

So Jackson went to work in contacting other schools. Because Jacksonville coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin tried to recruit for Clemson when she was an assistant, she had a good relationship with the talented forward.

McCuin jumped at the opportunity to help Mercer straighten her life, and went to work with school administrators to give her a chance.

And there seems to be no regret both on and off the court.

She is a double major on target to graduate on time and is one of the leading scorers on the basketball team.

When Jacksonville played a Kennesaw State a couple weeks ago, about seven people from Douglas County attended the game, including Tigers coach Chet Forsh.

“She seemed really happy to see us there,” Forsh said. “It was totally out of character what she did but I’m glad to see her doing the right things. You are going to make mistakes but you have to learn and not make the same ones.”

If a professional basketball career doesn’t pan out for Mercer, she wants to use her college degree to help others. She wants to either advocate for those that have gotten into trouble or help prevent young people from getting into trouble.

Mercer knows what it is like to be on both ends of that spectrum.

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