Recruiting: Ohio State among three finalists for five-star 2021 center Efton Reid

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Steward High's Efton Reid dunks in a game on Dec. 23, 2019. After playing his senior season at IMG Academy in Florida, Reid is back home working out with his former coach in Richmond.

Ohio State is among a group of three finalists for five-star center prospect Efton Reid, his former coach told The Dispatch.

Reid, a 7-foot, 225-pound native of Richmond, Virginia, will announce his choice April 15. It will end an unconventional recruitment that mostly played out during a recruiting dead period during the COVID-19 pandemic, making visiting college campus impossible.

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After playing his senior season at Bradenton (Florida) IMG Academy, Reid is back home working out with his former coach Curt Kassab at the Steward School in Richmond.

“He’s ready to get this all over with,” Kassab said. “It’s been difficult not being able to visit all the schools that he wanted to see on official visits but same boat as everybody else. He’s a very cerebral kid so he really doesn’t want to end up in the transfer portal.

“He’s ready. Obviously Ohio State is definitely in that very small group that he has remaining. We’ll see how it all pans out.”

Rated as the No. 3 center in the nation and the No. 23 overall prospect in the composite rankings, Reid has kept his recruitment private at a level not commonly seen for such a highly ranked player. Nine days shy of his commitment, no national recruiting experts had logged picks on his ultimate destination as part of 247Sports’ “Crystal Ball Predictions”.

Kassab declined to name the other two schools also in the running, saying it wasn’t his place to do so. Reid is looking at a few key factors in trying to make a final decision.

“The things that we stress to him and he is really looking at is relationship with the head coach,” the coach said. “That’s probably the most important one. Style of play. And he wants to go somewhere he’s going to be an immediate impact. That’s why Ohio State is where it’s at right now. He knows that’s one of their Achilles’ Heels and probably kept them from going deep into the tournament this year was the lack of a true 5.

“Those are the things mainly that he’s looking for. He wants to go somewhere that needs a versatile 5 like he is and enables him to play the way he likes to play.”

The Buckeyes got in early on Reid. Kassab said they were alongside Virginia as schools among the first to offer him a scholarship and that he’s since had constant communication with Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon. He has remained a key priority for Ohio State’s class of 2021.

Efton Reid has narrowed his college choices to three schools.

“They spent a lot of time on the recruiting trail for him and they’ve done a great job,” Kassab said of the Ohio State coaches. “He respects those guys a lot. They’ve done a great job in the process.”

Reid took an official visit to Ohio State during the weekend of October 5, 2019, the same time as Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary guard Malaki Branham, who has since signed for the Buckeyes in the 2021 class. He has also taken official visits to Louisville and Virginia and an unofficial visit to North Carolina before the pandemic shut things down. If not for that, Kassab said, Reid likely would’ve picked a school a while ago.

“He’s not star-struck by the North Carolinas or Dukes or Kentuckys,” Kassab said. “He’s looking for the right fit, the right relationship and the right style of play that he feels will fit his game. He’s special. He’s a special player.”

He also has the potential to play power forward, Kassab said.

“He can play 4 or 5,” he said. “He’s very versatile. He can face up and shoot the three. He’s got incredible post skills. His footwork is really, really good. I tell a lot of people I feel like he’s the best post player in the country coming out. He’s gonna be a definite impact player coming out for somebody.”