Five-star big man Kessler seeing interest sky-rocket
It’s been quite the whirlwind the last few months for five-star Walker Kessler. The 7-footer in the 2020 class has always been highly ranked in Rivals.com’s rankings, but his recruitment surged over the summer with schools literally all over the country jumping into the mix.
The sharp-shooting big man has official visits planned for Michigan in November and Virginia in December. Vanderbilt hosted him on his first official visit in September. Auburn and Georgia had him on campus for unofficial visits recently.
Duke had an assistant evaluate Kessler in a workout a few weeks, but the Blue Devils have not offered a scholarship yet. Clemson, Florida State, Stanford and Tennessee are also in the mix for the No. 10 prospect in the 2020 class.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Auburn: “I liked it a lot. It’s very close to home and they have great facilities. They have a good engineering program, which is something I think I want to do. I love Coach (Bruce) Pearl. He has a very personal relationship with all his players and I like that about him. I like that he doesn’t single out one guy because he’s the star of the team. Everyone loves him and they practice hard.
Duke: “They wanted me to visit a couple times for an unofficial and official visits, but my schedule hasn’t worked out. I don’t know if they perceived it as if I’m not interested, which I am, but it’s slowed down a little lately. It’s Duke obviously. It’s a very prestigious program. I saw the “I Hate Christian Laettner” documentary and they’ve had other good big guys like me too.”
Georgia: “I’ve been catching up with them a lot. I like those guys a lot. I have no complaints about them. Obviously Georgia will always have a special place with me because it’s been there my whole life with my dad, uncle and brother. Coach (Tom) Crean’s style of play is a lot of position-less basketball. They got big men dribbling and shooting. Cody Zeller played a similar game to me. Coach Crean said he didn’t shoot as much as I did, but he could dribble. He compared me a little to Nicolas Claxton on the team this year.”
“I’ve definitely thought about going somewhere else other than Georgia just to get away from being a Kessler at Georgia, but I also think you can do your own thing at the same school and be your own person. I’ve looked it at both ways. If Georgia is the right place, that’s where I’ll go and I don’t really care who in my family went there.”
Michigan: “I love Coach (John) Beilein and their style of play. Moe Wagner is very similar to my style of play. Coach Beilein has told me I can be a lot like him. Coach Beilein doesn’t really have that southern hospitality. He just gives it to you straight and I like that a lot.”
Ohio State: “I just started talking to them last week. They told me they are very interested and they think I would be a great fit at Ohio State. They want to get me up there some time. I don’t know a lot about them yet, but I’m definitely willing to learn. It’s not too late for new schools to come in.”
Vanderbilt: “It went well. I really, really liked the campus. I like the coaching staff and the style of play. It was an awesome visit.”
Virginia: “The NBA camp was there, but we didn’t really get to see the light of day at that camp. We saw the gym and some of the campus, but I’m looking forward to my visit and seeing more about the school. I love Coach (Tony) Bennett. He’s very, very humble. He’s very down to earth.”
I’m glad Kessler was as candid as he was about his recruitment. A lot of the talk around him has been that he’ll just end up at Georgia because of his family ties with his brother (Houston), father (Chad), and his late uncle (Alec) all playing there. That’s hardly the case here. He’s interested in Georgia and has built a good relationship with Crean and his staff, but he’s very interested in other schools too.
"Vanderbilt is one that gets a lot of buzz with him and the Commodores staff really impressed him on his official visit too. Michigan and Virginia are also in a good spot early for him. There is a long ways to go in his Kessler’s recruitment and he remains open to several schools.