Four-star forward Mario Kegler verbally committed to Mississippi State, he told Scout.
"Every time I went there I felt like I was at home," Kegler said. "I’m from Mississippi. I just wanted to stay home and play at Mississippi State next year."
“The reason for picking Mississippi State was because of the class they have coming in,” MBA Hoops coach Omhar Carter said. “He felt like they have a great supporting group and have an opportunity to make a run in the NCAA tournament.”
Prior to Kegler’s commitment, Mississippi State’s class ranked No. 5. A big reason for that ranking was because of a commitment from Kegler’s MBA Hoops teammate and friend Tyson Carter.
“When Tyson signed there and Schnider [Herard] committed there, then he really began to realize what Ben Howland was doing,” Carter told Scout.
“Prior to this MSU hadn’t had a recruiting class like this that you would consider to be top 10 or top 5, but when you got Schnider and [Abdul] Ado could possibly coming. When you have that you have two 6-11 bigs coming. Then he has the point guard that he played with all summer with and another point guard you know coming in, it just makes it an easy transition from high school to college.”
To go with an official to Mississippi State, Kegler also took official visits to Arizona State, Baylor, Indiana and Maryland. Ultimately staying home played into his choice, according to Carter.
“It factored in a lot because one thing you could say for Mario’s high school situation is he wasn’t afraid to go out of state for school,” he said. “Early on he was in love with Maryland. Coach Turgeon is an outstanding coach and he loved him.”
“I think everything just fell into place,” he added. “He did miss his family and being around his friends and relatives at home, but he wasn’t willing to sacrifice that for his career in basketball. Once coach Howland put it out there and talked to him and pretty much gave him his vision he was really impressed Mario. Coming from a coach that has put so many pros in the league, for coach Howland to come at Mario and tell him the things he told him about what he wants to do with him, it was great.”
Kegler said Howland prioritized him from day one and that played into his decision as well.
"We have had a good relationship since day one and since he stepped in the office," Kegler said. "We have a great relationship. He’s a great guy."
Kegler, a versatile combo forward, is ranked No. 46 overall in the 2016 recruiting class.
“Defense is one of his biggest strengths and his ability to guard multiple positions,” Carter said when asked to describe his game. “His mid-range and off dribble game is strong also with his size and length. He’s physical and can finish at the basket.”
With the addition of Kegler, Mississippi State’s class moves up to No. 3 in the country. Kegler is MSU’s fifth four-star commitment. He joins Carter, Herard, Lamar Peters and Eli Wright to make up their current class.