The Ohio State men's basketball program has added a second member to its 2020 recruiting class. Today, four-star power forward Zed Key announced his commitment to the Buckeyes at a ceremony at his New York high school. He spoke with The Dispatch about his decision.
Not even a week ago, Ohio State’s 2020 recruiting class for men’s basketball remained stuck at zero.
Today, it has surpassed maximum capacity. In a ceremony at his high school, four-star power forward Zed Key from Glen Head (New York) Long Island Lutheran issued his commitment to the Buckeyes. His announcement comes six days after four-star wing Eugene Brown III committed to Ohio State, giving coach Chris Holtmann a two-man 2020 class that – for now – puts the Buckeyes at 14 projected scholarship players for next year.
For Key, the decision was a simple one after he took his official visit to Ohio State during the weekend of September 6.
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“I loved the campus and I loved the coaching staff,” he told The Dispatch. “I loved being around the players and it felt like home there. I fit in and I got that feeling: OK, this is the place that I want to be. That was my first official (visit). I got that feeling that this is the right place for me so I want to be here.
“I would watch them sometimes on TV and when I’d hear of Ohio State I’d think, ‘Huge campus, everything is spread out.’ But it’s not like that at all.”
Immediately after the visit, the plan remained for Key to take other visits, with Marquette scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 20 and Florida the following weekend. Instead, Key announced Wednesday that he would be committing Sunday afternoon, and he took no other official visits.
It also meant that a planned official visit for four-star center Zach Loveday, a Gallipolis, Ohio, native who is playing for Huntington (West Virginia) Prep, for this weekend never took place. The Buckeyes are now done with their 2020 class, pending possible spring developments for the late signing period.
Key’s commitment puts the Buckeyes one above the scholarship limit. However, with junior center Kaleb Wesson increasingly being viewed as likely to play his way into the NBA, the Buckeyes identified a need for another post player should that situation materialize.
Without Wesson, the 2020-21 Buckeyes would have second-year players E.J. Liddell and Ibrahima Diallo as their lone candidates to play center. Key, the No. 115 national prospect and the No. 24 power forward in the country, would be in the running for significant early playing time.
That didn’t factor into his decision, however.
“I wanted just to go somewhere where I know I can develop my game and get better as a person and a player,” he said. “Those were the big factors, because I know I’m going to work every day and get better every day and work hard. It’s going to show. That really wasn’t a main focus of mine.”
While on his official visit, Key got to spend time with former Buckeyes D’Angelo Russell and Evan Turner as well as current members of the team. To read more about that visit, click here. He primarily hung out with sophomores Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr., he said.
“They’re high-energy guys,” he said. “They’re always dancing, always laughing. They’re hilarious. They had me laughing the whole time. Every time a song would come on they’d get mad hyped and just start dancing and keep dancing.”
This weekend, Ohio State hosted another center on an official visit: five-star 7-footer Chet Holmgren from Minneapolis (Minnesota) Minnehaha Academy, a member of the class of 2021. Regardless of his future plans, the Buckeyes have added a big man with the ability to impact the game in multiple ways but primarily as a back-to-the-basket presence.
“They like my post presence, my physical play,” Key said of the Ohio State coaches. “They like that I’m versatile, so I can stay down low in the post and bury my man and score every efficiently around the rim. I can also bring the guy out and I’ve been working on shooting. That’s been my main focus this summer in developing my game.”