Jaxon Kohler’s recruitment was already starting to increase at the end of August, after joining a new prep school and playing well on the AAU summer circuit.
But when he stepped onto the pitch for the Pangos All-American Festival championship game in Las Vegas on August 29, that was all about to change.
Kohler recorded 53 points and 23 rebounds that day in one of the West Coast’s premier recruiting events and won the event’s MVP award.
The performance brought a new level of attention to the rookie before four stars. Highlights from the game, in which Kohler scores in various ways both below and outside the basket, has over 200,000 views on YouTube.
And it opened the eyes of East Lansing.
“I hope this game has kind of opened the eyes of a lot of people to how I kind of am in the gym working and working on my game, working on my craft,” Kohler said. “Fortunately, he did that with Michigan State.”
The state of Michigan had already started recruiting Kohler earlier this summer, when recruiting coordinator Mark Montgomery contacted him in July to say staff would be watching him.
Shortly after his 53-point game, Kohler said the recruiting process had sped up – to the point that within a month he had signed up as part of the State of the State’s 2022 recruiting class. Michigan.
Following a Zoom call in early September, the state of Michigan worked quickly to secure a visit from Kohler in mid-September. He had reason to hurry: The program was hosting his reunion weekend, and many of his former NBA players are expected to be back on campus to offer a unique look at the program.
Kohler and his family were more than willing to make the trip at short notice to be there for it.
“I was sort of hoping to get there as soon as I could, too,” Kohler said. “The state of Michigan is a place you don’t try to hold onto for very long. You get there as fast as you can.
Kohler was able to spend a weekend hanging out with Draymond Green, Gary Harris, Jaren Jackson and many more from September 10-12.
He left impressed and a week later announced his engagement.
“It showed me what the results look like after coming to the state of Michigan,” Kohler said of his visit. “Seeing Draymond Green and just being around him and seeing how great a guy he is has opened my eyes to what the state of Michigan is doing to you.”
With Kohler’s commitment, the state of Michigan now has a great man in its 2022 class, after several other previous goals have ended up elsewhere.
With Kohler and point guard Trejuan Holloman in the class, Michigan State currently has 11 players on its 2022-2023 roster. That puts them both below the 13 purse limit – although Tom Izzo has indicated in the transfer portal era that he will likely carry 11 or 12 stock players in most years.
A 6-foot-9, 250-pound Utah forward, Kohler is ranked the nation’s 67th prospect in the 247sports composite.
He is described by Boy Scouts as a productive post scorer with particularly strong footwork for a high school prospect.
Kohler said he has been focusing on his footwork ever since he started playing the game in elementary school, using a meticulous process to do so. He started watching Hakeem Olajuwon Highlights at a young age and quickly began to write down the post moves step by step in a journal.
From there, he would practice those moves over and over on a training ground until they were rooted and ready to burst into a match.
“When I felt comfortable enough to do it in a game, that’s where it took off,” Kohler said.
While his post moves are well established, Kohler said the state of Michigan sees him as a player who can contribute from the midrange and pick-and-pop as well.
This analysis came quickly, in a recruiting process that typically ended in less than a month thanks to enthusiasm on both sides.
“Was it crazy to think that shit these guys called me?” Kohler said. “So that was a blessing. It was a real blessing that they called.