Mississippi State freshman forward Mario Kegler is working toward his goal

Mississippi State true freshman forward Mario Kegler has focused on one primary goal since he was in the ninth grade.

"My goal is to one day reach the NBA," said Kegler, arguably the most talented player in a MSU recruiting class that was ranked 8th in the nation by Scout.com.

He has had that dream for four years.

"My dream of going to the NBA started my 9th grade year," said Kegler. "That is when I started taking it serious. During that year, I started receiving a lot of recognition and a lot of (college recruiters) started talking to me."

Going to college was the next step in reaching that goal. And as you would expect, as he advanced to that step, things became a little harder.

"Practices in college are much different than in high school," said Kegler. "They are more intense, at a high level. Everybody that you are going against is as good or better than you."

Kegler arrived on campus during the first summer session and used the summer to improve his game. He did miss a valuable opportunity when he had to miss the team's trip to Italy. He used that as motivation to work on his game.

"For me, (missing the Italy trip) was motivation," said Kegler. "It didn't stop me from doing anything. I just stayed here and worked in the gym and tried to make myself better."

One of eight freshmen on the team, Kegler expects the freshmen to have good chemistry.

"Since day one, since we all committed to Mississippi State, we all started bonding," said Kegler. " Everybody came together and got cool. And when we all got to campus, we were all just like brothers."

He expects the team to be pretty good this year.

"This team is going to come along and everybody is going to play together and everybody will have a great year and, hopefully, wins some games," said Kegler.

A great offensive player, he expects that aspect of his game to be a major part of his role on the team.

"My role is like every other team (that I have been on), score the basketball like they brought me in to do and play hard," said Kegler."

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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