Mercer MBB player battled testicular cancer in 2019

The NABC initiated Coaches vs. Cancer in 1993.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — This past week, the National Association of Basketball Coaches took part in Suits & Sneakers week, a Coaches vs. Cancer initiative to raise awareness for cancer; and one of Mercer’s own has come out of his own tough battle victorious.

“It’s definitely a harsh news for me and my family to hear that word cancer at such a young age,” said Mercer men’s basketball graduate student Luis Hurtado Jr.

In 2019, at the youthful age of 21 and in pristine athletic shape, Hurtado Jr. received news that he would have to face his toughest opponent yet, testicular cancer.

“Those days were one of the hardest days in my life, where I keep fighting the medicine and all the stuff that’s going through my body,” said Hurtado Jr. “But it’s definitely a blessing having those people, and still having those people that believe for me and give me that courage to keep playing the sport that I love.”

After going through such challenging times, any sort of injuries or setbacks now for Hurtado Jr. just seem to be inconsequential.

“He got his lip busted earlier in the preseason. I took him to the hospital to get stitched up, and they were doing the Novocain shot to numb his lip, and he was in a lot of pain. I said, ‘man, that looks like it hurts a lot.’ He goes, ‘Not as bad as the chemo that I went through every day.’ So it kind of puts it into perspective,” said Mercer men’s basketball head coach Greg Gary.

Physically, the battle against cancer is always a tough one, but for those going through the fight, having a positive mindset can be the overbearing factor in survival.

“You have to believe that you’re going to go through it, and it’s going to be on the positive side. It’s believing everything happens for a reason, and then just to fight,” said Hurtado Jr.

There are several ways to support cancer patients or the fight against cancer, but as head coach Greg Gary saw his father pass away from cancer in 2015, he believes the best way to support those going through the battle is just being by their side.

“It’s really just being there to support people. And so many people don’t want to talk about it at times. And being able to talk about it, being positive, because there’s a lot of survivors,” said Gary. “So it’s just having a positive attitude. You’ve been dealt with it, so you got to deal with it and try to help each other as much as possible.”

Since Coaches vs. Cancer’s launch in 1993, the National Association of Basketball Coaches has raised over $145 million. To get involved in the fight against cancer or to simply donate, visit

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