Mario Kegler revealed his college decision on Wednesday. The four-star small forward announced he will attend Mississippi State, choosing the Bulldogs over Indiana and Maryland.
Kegler’s announcement, on the first day of the early signing period for college basketball, comes after he took official visits to Arizona State, Baylor, Mississippi State, Maryland and Indiana. This year Kegler is playing at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., after transferring from Arlington Country Day (Fla.) School. He previously attended Callaway (Miss.) High.
At 6'7" and 210 pounds, Kegler is highly regarded for his combination of power and perimeter skills and potentially could line up at either small forward or power forward in college. Eric Bossi, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, wrote in June about Kegler: “With his power, strength and athleticism, he is a bit reminiscent of former Texas star Damion James.”
Kegler is No. 30 in the 2016 Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI), a composite ranking incorporating data from several sources.
Kegler’s decision is the latest in a series of recruiting wins for first-year coach Ben Howland. This spring Mississippi State signed Malik Newman, a five-star shooting guard in the class of 2015 that we project to average more than 14 points per game as a freshman. In the next cycle the Bulldogs have landed five prospects assessed four-star ratings by Rivals.com: Kegler, center Schnider Herard and guards Tyson Carter, Lamar Peters and Eli Wright.
Howland’s early work on the recruiting trail is impressive considering Mississippi State has not won more than 20 games since 2011-12 or reached the NCAA Tournament since 2009. He’s persuading players with scholarship offers from programs with more recent on-court success to choose the Bulldogs even though he has yet to coach a game in Starkville and media members voted them to finish eighth in the SEC this season.
There’s a chance Mississippi State could add another big man to its 2016 class. It’s a finalist for four-star prospect De’Ron Davis, who is set to announce his decision on Thursday, and is pursuing top-75 prospect Abdul Ado.