Kegler bigger and badder, but in no rush

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Mario Kegler doesn't boast highlights-friendly. He doesn't jump out of the gym and dazzle with electrifying crossovers or buzzsaw passes. What he does, instead, is apply steady pressure to an opponent and bring a physical presence to the wing.

Over the years, Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day coach Rex Morgan has enjoyed an abundance of major talent. His program has been a fixture in northern Florida for many years, and Mario Kegler stands next in line for national offers and publicity.

That's not to say Kegler is a finished product, or that he's consistently dominant. He went for 12 points and four rebounds as ACD defeated Kinston (N.C.) High on Saturday, so clearly he doesn't always set out to burn up the nets.

Nevertheless, he possesses easy ability to thrive at the major conference level. He has gotten taller and stronger since I last spoke with him in the spring, saying that he now checks in at 6-7, 220 pounds. He likely has outgrown any notion of playing in the backcourt, but despite his size he remains sufficiently skilled to play on the perimeter.

Along with that, he doesn't mind posting up on occasion. Kegler's first touch versus Kinston was a spinning post-up along the baseline for an easy bucket. He has the body to punish his opponents and simply needs more experience to maximize his advantage.

On the outside, he plays unselfishly and is a gifted handler for his height. Although his jump shot is inconsistent, he keeps his elbow tucked and elevates nicely. With greater repetition, he should improve substantially from long distance.

He remains committed to play on the wing and has dedicated himself to becoming complete.

"I'm being recruited to play the two or the three," Kegler said. "I'm working on my handle and creating to get to the rim."

His recruitment is humming along. Kegler quickly reeled off a list following the Kinston game (noting that he'd certainly overlook a few) that included Connecticut, UCLA, Arizona, Mississippi State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

"I don't have any timeframe (for narrowing my list)," Kegler said. "I'm just going to look for the best situation for me."

Scout Hoops Top Stories