Elite national recruit Kegler visiting ASU Monday

One one of the top small forward prospects in the country, Mario Kegler, will stop at Arizona State on his cross-country trip following completion of the Pangos All-American Camp this weekend.

CARSON, Calif. -- In a setting like the Pangos All-American Camp, there are small forwards who struggle to get the ball in their hands enough to show what they're capable of, forwards who aren't skilled enough to thrive in the breakneck style of play, and then there are small forwards like Mario Kegler.

Even at 6-foot-7 and 205 pounds, Kegler had no issue at all ripping a rebound and weaving his way through full court traffic to finish at the rim. Need a big wing who can isolate and power his way to the basket in the half court? No problem. Pull up jumpers from 3-point range? Kegler's got that too.

It's no wonder then, the Jacksonville, Fla., Arlington Country Day star rising senior is the No. 33 ranked overall prospect and No. 11 small forward in the 2016 class.

After he's done imposing his will on hapless -- and frequently half-hearted -- defenders at this high profile camp, Kegler will make a pit stop at Arizona State on his way home to Mississippi in order to see the Sun Devil program. A major reason for that decision is the presence of Brian Merritt on the ASU staff under recently hired head coach Bobby Hurley.

"They offered me to come out and visit and I thought it was nice for them to want me to come visit so I said I would," Kegler said. "I've been knowing coach Merritt for a long time. Even before he went to coaching, I went to work out with him a lot, since like seventh or eighth grade.

"After he went to ASU he basically just reached out and let me know how much they could use a player like me there and he said I would be perfect for what they're trying to do there, so I liked hearing that from him since I've known him for so long already. I think Brian is going to do great there and bring in good players because he's a good coach and also a great guy. I think him and coach (Bobby) Hurley are going to work good together."

Demand is understandably high for Kegler, a player who leads his AAU team MBA Hoops on the adidas Gauntlet circuit with 22 points per game to go along with seven rebounds and a remarkable 42 percent from 3-point range. He reported scholarship offers from ASU, Arizona, Baylor, Connecticut, Georgia Tech, LSU, Memphis, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, and UNLV.

At the end of the day, Kegler admitted it's going to be hard for him to travel West for college. But he said if it happens, ASU is as likely as any other school because of the relationships, which now includes a developing feel for Hurley he's looking to further build upon.

"I've talked to him a couple times," Kegler said. "I think he's a great coach. He was telling me about the time he played at Duke and in the [NBA] and how if I came to Arizona State he would develop me and turn me into a pro.

"Wherever school I pick I just want to have trust with the coach and know that he's going to put me in a good position as a freshman as far as playing and somewhere I can do my thing."

Kegler said his current plan is to take a wait-and-see approach with recruiting until the July evaluation period is over, and then narrow his list and figure out official visit decisions.

"I'm still pretty open to everybody, just see who else offers and go from there," he said.

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