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Phone ringing as 7-foot prospect Walker Kessler sees his stock rise

RANKINGS: 2018 Rivals150 | 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150 | 2018 Team | 2018 Position

Walker Kessler
Walker Kessler

Since the clock struck midnight on June 15, Walker Kessler’s phone has been ringing off the hook with college coaches hoping to get in touch with him.

Stanford jumped into the mix and offered the No. 22-ranked prospect in the 2020 class on Monday night. Wake Forest followed with an offer on Tuesday afternoon. Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Xavier and several others are also heavily recruiting the 7-foot Georgia native.

Kessler’s next visit will be to Georgia this week. He also plans to be back at Vanderbilt before the end of the month. After July, he hopes to make trips to see Michigan, Xavier and Virginia.

Kessler’s stock is on the rise after a strong performance at the NBA Top 100 camp.

“It was fun. It was tiring, I’m not going to lie,” Kessler said. “It was a great learning experience getting to learn from past NBA players and current NBA players and seeing how they handle everything, not even just from the basketball standpoint. Playing against that level of competition was great.”

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Georgia: “I like the new coaching staff. I don’t know Coach (Tom) Crean on a real personal level yet, but I know about his history at Indiana and developing players like Dwyane Wade - but more importantly Cody Zeller, who is a player like me. I’m for sure going to give them a shot. I’m not only going to look at Georgia though. I know I have Georgia in my family, but I’m not going to just go there because of that.”

Stanford: “I was pretty excited about. That’s a pretty big offer. Obviously, the school is great. It’s one of the best. The coach there, Jerod Haase, he’s developed a bunch of players. I’m definitely excited about them.”

Vanderbilt: “It’s a lot of the same as Stanford. They have a great basketball program, a great school, and I love the coaching staff there. They were one of the first schools to recruit me, so I’ve gotten to know them really well. I’ve always liked Vanderbilt.”

Michigan: “I just talked to Coach (John) Beilein and really enjoyed our conversation. I know that the strength and conditioning coach is great because he was sending me pictures of Moe Wagner before he got to Michigan, and he was skinny. He’s not skinny anymore. I was pretty impressed with that.”

Xavier: “I have a great relationship with (assistant coach) Jonas Hayes through coaching my brother at Georgia. And Xavier, that’s a great basketball school. They’ve gone to the tournament something like 16 out of 18 years.”

Auburn: “Auburn is great. Coach (Bruce) Pearl is a great coach. Auburn is close to home, too. It’s only about an hour away.”


Kessler’s father Chad, late uncle Alec, and brother Houston all played basketball at Georgia, so the assumption might be that he’s a lock for Georgia. Kessler says that is far from the truth. He does seem very interested in Georgia, given his family’s connection and likes that Tom Crean coached a player he sees as similar to himself in Cody Zeller, but it’s far from a done deal for Georgia. Kessler comes from a family that values academics (father is a surgeon, brother is in law school), so schools such as Stanford and Vanderbilt appeal to him. John Beilein’s history of developing players has his attention, as well, and it’d be wise not to downplay his relationship with Jonas Hayes at Xavier. At the end of the day, will Georgia be hard to beat? Probably. Will it be impossible to beat out the Bulldogs? Definitely not. Look for a decision at some point before his senior year.