Countdown: World Traveler Krueger Looks Close to Home for College
by Colette Lewis
, 27 October 2011
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Blue chip recruit Mitchell Krueger has seen the world the past two years, traveling to Malaysia, Australia and throughout Europe to compete against top competition on the ITF junior circuit. Yet in selecting a college, the 17-year-old from Aledo, Texas has narrowed his choices to three schools close to home: Oklahoma, Texas A&M and TCU.
"It's not so much about staying close," says Krueger, ranked third in Tennis Recruiting Network's class of 2012. "I just like all three coaches. I think they're all doing a pretty good job with their programs right now. But having good coaches with good programs and good players being that close to where I live is a benefit."
Oklahoma's John Roddick, in his third year, TCU's David Roditi, in his second year, and A&M's Steve Denton, in his sixth year, are in an interesting position regarding the sought-after recruit, because his father, Myron Krueger, chairs Intercollegiate Tennis Association matches in Texas nearly every weekend.
"All the coaches I'm talking with, at first they knew him better than they knew me," says Krueger of his father, an engineer at Lockheed Martin. "It's changing now, but I think they all get a kick out of it. They all say how my dad's seen them at their most intense moments. They're all pretty good friends with him though, and he really enjoys it."
With his father, who played college tennis at Texas A&M, officiating matches in his free time, and his mother Marla, who played at Louisiana Tech, continuing to teach and play the sport, it's no surprise Krueger took to the courts at a young age.
"I started tournaments when I was about six or seven, just local Ft. Worth tournaments," says Krueger. "I think my first super Nationals might have been the 12s, when I was 10 or 11."
Krueger won the prestigious Eddie Herr title in that age group in 2006, and was one of the four boys featured in the film documentary 50,000 Balls, centered on the Boys 12s Nationals in Little Rock that year.
Coached by Dave Licker, now at the Lakes Tennis Academy in Frisco, Texas, Krueger began playing internationally when he turned 16. This year he played all four junior slams, reaching the singles quarterfinals in Australia and the doubles final, with Shane Vinsant, at Roland Garros. It's an experience Krueger treasures.
"I wouldn't trade it for anything," Krueger says. "It's been great for maturity for me, with Dane (Webb) and I going alone. The European trip last summer, we were alone in Italy, alone in Belgium, finding out how to deal with things, growing up."