It took the cancellation of the tournament season to finally stop Zed Key and his teammates.
As a senior at Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, New York), the 2020 Ohio State signee put together a season to remember. At 22-3, Lutheran High or LuHi, as they call it ended the season as the top-rated team in the state, and Key averaged 15.9 points. Along the way, his stature grew as he solidified himself among the nation’s top true post players.
Then it all came to an abrupt end when the postseason tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was a tough pill for Key to swallow, but he told The Dispatch that it didn’t diminish what the team was able to accomplish.
"Everyone was upset that we couldn’t go compete for a championship and our season was cut short," he said. "You also have to look at it from the other side: We have to stay safe. This is a new virus, and we didn’t know what it is.
"All of us are healthy, so you’ve got to look at it that way."
Key said the Crusaders held a practice on March 11, only to learn afterward that it would be their last. That day, the NBA shut down for the foreseeable future, and within the next 24 hours the NCAA Tournament would be canceled and almost the entire sports world put on hold.
Since then, Key said he’s been in contact with the Ohio State coaching staff, which has checked in to make sure he and his family members are safe. Key has also started to get information on the strength and conditioning workouts he’ll be going through when he reports to campus in June.
"No one wants their season to end like that, but it wasn’t only just us," Key said. "There were multiple teams across the country that were affected by this. Just to see your senior season end and not to be able to play with those guys again, I was really upset. I took it hard."
His next chance to play will come with the Buckeyes. Key signed with the program in November, then put together a season in which he was one of five finalists to be named New York’s Mr. Basketball. He is listed as a three-star prospect, the No. 4 player from New York and the overall No. 154 national recruit, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann raved about the 6-foot-7, 215-pound Key on his radio show Feb. 17.
"Zed Key has had a great senior year," he said. "Zed is a big kid who has the ability to score with his back to the basket and can shoot some. He’s a bigger body. He’s a little bit undersized but has great length and is moving better and better."
Should junior center Kaleb Wesson opt to enter the NBA draft, Key said he’s preparing to help fill the void.
"It’s a really big opportunity," he said. "They’re looking for me to come in and be a presence right away. I’ve just got to work hard every day to make sure I have that spot and get better every day. I’m excited to go out there."