Oak Hill Academy head coach Steve Smith talks about Mario Kegler committing to Mississippi State.

Oak Hill Academy head coach Steve Smith talks about Mario Kegler committing to Mississippi State.

What is Mississippi State getting with the signing of Mario Kegler?
"They are getting a big-time wing player. He has a body that is ready to play as a freshman. Most kids can't go in and play early because they aren't physically ready. But he is. He is about 6-foot-7, 235 pounds. It would probably help if he was 225, lost a little weight. But we are going to work on that with him. He is a great shooter. He can score the ball off the bounce. He can score it to the rim. He can also score it from the three-point line. We have him playing defense for the first time in his life. And he rebounds his position. I just think he is going to be a great, great player as a freshman right away."

How much do you think it will help his game to be playing with all the talented players that are on the Oak Hill Academy team?
"That has probably helped him more than anything. He has to compete every day here. He competes against Braxton Key who is going to Alabama, a similar player, a similar, similar position. We have five guards besides those two who are high D-I players who are juniors and a couple of them are sophomores. So, he is competing against a division-1 player every day in practice, in drills, in scrimmage situations. That is causing him to be a better player because it causes him to compete every day. He is getting in the habit of doing that and that will carryover to college."

What makes him such a great offensive player? Is he more of an outside or inside offensive player?
"Both. You could post him some if he has a smaller guy guarding him. If you have a mismatch he'll go inside and score in the post. But he is a perimeter mainly. I like him because he is a threat now because he can really handle it and pass. Some thinks that he is just a shooter but he does other things. He can pass, he sees the floor well. In transition he is great with the ball. We have no problem with him rebounding the ball and busting it out himself and bring it up the floor. So I like the way he sees the floor, he is a smart player. And it helps that he can shoot the ball with the range that he has."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network.

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