This past summer Mississippi State freshman guard Malik Newman informed USA Today HSS to be on the lookout for his friend and former teammate Mario Kegler because he’d be “doing big things” in his final high school season.
On Wednesday, Kegler, a senior wing at Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), announced that he’d continue those big things with Newman and the Bulldogs next season.
Kegler picked the Bulldogs over Baylor, Indiana, Arizona State and Maryland.
Kegler, who is ranked No. 32 in the ESPN 100, also signed his National Letter of Intent Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA’s Early Signing Period, which runs through Nov. 18.
Kegler played alongside Newman at Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) during Kegler’s sophomore year. His guardian Omhar Carter told the Clarion-Ledger that the decision came down to the wire.
“We kind of got there (on Wednesday),” Carter said. “Mississippi State was leading and then Indiana jumped up. Finally, we took all the things off the table. You’re dealing with three outstanding coaches. All of them are historic coaches or at historic programs. When you ‘x’ those factors out, it came out to who has the team coming in you fit the best with. Who has the greatest need for you to come in, play and do what you do best — score. We felt like Mississippi State had the players coming in and the surrounding cast to make him as successful as he wants to be and the team to be. He wants to go far in the NCAA tournament and he feels like he can do that at Mississippi State.”
Kegler will get similar training of being surrounded by talent with the Warriors this season. Five of his teammates also signed National Letters of Intent with Division I schools on Wednesday.
That group includes No. 1 overall player Harry Giles, who signed with Duke after announcing his decision last week. Giles is out for the season with a knee injury.
The group also includes Rodney Miller (Miami), Khadim Sy (Virginia Tech), Joe Hampton (Penn State) and Braxton Key (Alabama).
Oak Hill is ranked No. 3 in the Super 25 preseason rankings.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY