Mississippi State has yet to officially play a game with head coach Ben Howland at the helm, but his arrival in Starkville continues to pay dividends on the recruiting trail. Wednesday afternoon the Bulldogs received another important commitment, as 6-foot-7 four-star wing Mario Kegler announced at Oak Hill Academy that he’ll play his college basketball at Mississippi State.
Kegler, a native of Mississippi, was also considering Indiana and Maryland but ultimately decided that the chance to play in his home state was too much to pass up. Kegler is ranked 29th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, and he’s the fifth commitment in the class for Mississippi State.
It’s a class that checks off all of the boxes from a need standpoint. Four-star guard Tyson Carter and Lamar Peters are players expected to have an immediate impact, and the same goes for wings Kegler and Eli Wright and big man Schnider Herard. This is a highly talented group for a program that hasn’t experienced much success since the departure of Rick Stansbury, which goes to show the impact that Howland and his staff have had on the program since their arrival in the spring.
In addition to the five recruits the Bulldogs will add Louisiana Tech transfer Xavian Stapleton, who’s also rehabbing from a torn ACL while sitting out this season. Mississippi State will lose four seniors at the end of the 2014-15 season, and many expect elite freshman guard Malik Newman to head to the NBA after just one season.
Mississippi State is also a finalist for talented power forward De’Ron Davis, who’s scheduled to announce his college decision on Thursday, and Abdulhakim Ado is another interior prospect they’re currently pursuing.