Sun Devils grinding on Kegler

Arizona State has prioritized Top-50 recruit Mario Kegler and the 6-foot-7 small forward has already visited the Sun Devils and reciprocated the interest.

At just about every one of Mario Kegler's AAU games in the Adidas Summer Championship in Las Vegas in late July, Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley was in attendance with one of his assistants in tow.

Usually, on the other side of the court also watching MBA Hoops was Mississippi State coach Ben Howland along with one of his assistant coaches.

The battle for the services of Kegler, a 6-foot-7, 225 pound forward ranked No. 40 nationally in the 2016 class, may come down to the two schools.

“Those are two main schools that are in it but there were a few other schools that were there watching very regularly," Omhar Carter, coach of Kegler's AAU team, said. "We're talking about it and getting organized There's a lot of great schools who have offered scholarships to Mario so he's in a great situation.

If he’s not ready (to sign by November) it could go into the spring. It’s all about him being ready and him deciding. Once he makes a decision, I don’t want to see any second thoughts about it. Where he commits is where he’s going to be and I don’t want to see him transferring or anything like that.”

A Mississippi native who will play this season at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, Kegler is scheduled to be on Mississippi State's campus this weekend. He already visited ASU unofficially several months ago.

“I like ASU," Kegler said recently. "Great coaching staff, talk to them almost every day. It was a great visit. I liked the facilities, I like the coaching staff. Coach Hurley said he wants me to come in and do my thing and then get up out of there (to the NBA).

“I love playing, but the recruiting process is stressful. It’s very crazy. It's nothing against any of the coaches or schools because they're just doing what they have to do, but it’s like a bunch of babies around the house constantly yapping. You just want it to quiet down. I know that it won't until I make my decision, so that's what I'm trying to do."

Kegler hadn't narrowed his focus due to his busy summer playing schedule and an inability to spend more time researching things independently. That process is now unfolding. But the Sun Devils are firmly established due to an initial relationship with assistant coach Brian Merritt that has been further forged with head coach Bobby Hurley.

“Merritt brought initial attention to the whole situation," Carter said. "He’s someone you know automatically brings attention. He was very influential in the process of us familiarizing ourselves with Arizona State and being a great resource because of how much we respect him.

"At the end of the day, you have to love your head coach and want to play for him and coach Hurley is something that Mario has told me he really likes. He's someone who knows the game, was a great player in college, played in the NBA, which is what Mario is trying to do. There's trust there that Hurley will play a certain way that really allows his players to show what they're capable of."

Indiana, Maryland, Memphis and Oklahoma State are some of the other schools attempting to nudge their way into serious contention, and Kegler may take a full compliment of official visits. He hasn't decided yet. He just knows he wants to go somewhere he'll be able to win and flourish.

“I’ve always been very competitive, I don’t like to lose," Kegler said. "Whatever it is, X-Box, whatever. I'm going to do everything I can to get the win."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories