Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

D-III star Eric Demers leading college basketball in scoring with foundation in Christ

Eric Demers. Even the most diehard of basketball fans probably haven’t heard his name, but maybe they should.

Demers is a fifth-year senior at Division III Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., and he is leading the entire country in scoring. For those who have had the privilege of watching him play, he’s dazzled spectators by averaging 32.5 points per game. Many of the 6-foot-1 guard’s points come as rainbow 3-pointers from well beyond the arc. He’s buried nine 3-pointers in three separate games this season.

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Demers eclipsed 30 points in 15 consecutive games during the latter stretch of the season, and in one game in December, he dropped a season-high 49 points. He is shooting 46.5 percent and 39.4 percent from 3-point range this season. To little surprise, he was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference Player of the Year on Monday, as well as a member of the All-CCC first team.

Yet despite Demers’s marksmanship from deep, Gordon finished with a mediocre record of 12-13 this season. The Fighting Scots’ regular season came to an end with an 82-70 loss to Nichols on Saturday (in which Demers scored only 15). Next up for the team is the 2020 CCC Men’s Basketball Tournament, in which Gordon takes on Western New England on Tuesday night.

After that, for Demers, is the task of landing a pro basketball contract somewhere. The people in his inner circle — head coach Tod Murphy, wife Lauren and a handful of others — don’t have any doubt about what Demers can do on a basketball court.

“[Demers] doesn’t have a range,” said Peter McLelland, a Gordon College basketball blogger, to Sports Illustrated. “Wherever he gets the ball, that’s it.”

Coach Murphy agreed.

“At least 100 times during Eric’s career I’ve said, ‘That’s a bad shot,’ as he took it,” he said. “And it went in.”

The challenge, of course, is to convince a professional basketball team. Regardless of whether a career in basketball is in Demers’s future, he finds a solid foundation in Jesus Christ. Demers describes himself as a “Follower of Jesus” in his Instagram bio, and he often talks about his faith in posts on social media.

Gordon is a Christian school, where attendance at three chapel services a week (where Eric and Lauren met) is mandatory and faith in Christ is at the center of everything they do. Demers grew under the mentorship of Matt Chewning, who runs a small ministry in Massachusetts and invited Demers to live with his family.

“He’d ask us questions like, ‘How do I not go out with all these girls?’” Chewning told Sports Illustrated. “Eric seemed unsettled when he arrived. But being around my kids … pretty soon they were asking if he could tuck them in. I’ve never seen somebody grow so much as a man in one year.”

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