Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland continued his recruiting roll on Wednesday by landing Mario Kegler, a 6-foot-6 wing guard from Oak Hill Academy (VA) who is a Mississippi native.
Kegler also considered Indiana and Maryland after cutting Arizona State and Baylor from his list.
Howland has already lined up a loaded class of Schnider Herard, a 6-10 center who committed last week, along with point guards Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter and shooting guard Eli Wright, giving Mississippi State the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation according to Scout.com.
“Every time I went there I felt like I was at home,” Kegler told Scout. “I’m from Mississippi. I just wanted to stay home and play at Mississippi State next year.”
“[Howland] feels he is a pro, one and out,” Omhar Carter, Kegler’s guardian, told SNY.tv following Kegler’s official visit to campus for Maroon Madness. “He thinks that his size and skill would be a matchup nightmare for opponents.”
Kegler is a Mississippi native who transferred to Oak Hill (VA) Academy before his senior season. His former high school teammate at Callaway (MS), Malik Newman, is now a freshman at Mississippi State.
“Seeing everyone happy and all the fans there was cool,” Kegler told the Clarion-Ledger. “The fans went crazy, especially if you’re from Mississippi. [Newman is] from Mississippi, I’m from Mississippi, you know, that could be me.”
Howland will likely lose Newman to the NBA Draft, but would love to add Kegler for next season.
“I met with Coach Howland this morning and he talked to me about how bad he wanted me and the things I’d be doing once I get here,” he told the Clarion-Ledger.
“I feel like I can develop under [Howland] a lot. He just tells me about coming in, getting my body right and that I’d have a chance to come in and do what I’ve been doing over the years: score the ball.”
As for Kegler’s upside, Smith said: “Big strong kid, almost 6-7. Working with him on his body. He’s about 235, he needs to be 220-225. He’s more of a wing guard.
“Great shooter, 3- point range, good off the bounce. Very good in the pick and roll. Gets to the basket ball well. Can rebound his position and he’s a high, high level player.”
Kegler is also close with Overland Park (CO) power forward De’Ron Davis, who will announce on Thursday for either Indiana or Mississippi State.
“Mario is really looking forward to the opportunity to play with De’Ron,” said Danny Fisher, Davis’ high school coach. “They’ve been together on the adidas circuit and Mario and his family made it sound like De’Ron’s presence at Mississippi State would influence Mario in his decision on some level. They’re tied together in the sense of them trying to put that front line together of Kegler, De’Ron and Herard. That’s attractive.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.