The Ohio State men’s basketball team added its first two members of the 2020 class in the early signing period in Zed Key and Eugene Brown III.
“We are just really excited about the addition of those two young men,” Chris Holtmann said Nov. 15. “Both guys have a unique ability to impact the way we want to play. They both fit a need. Eugene, with his versatility and ability to play kind of multiple positions on the perimeter in that bigger wing that we’ve been looking for is going to really be important. And Zed with his physicality, his length, his frame. I think he’s just scratching the surface on his ability to continue to get better. And his ability to score with his back to the basket, which is always unique in our game today.”
Key signed his national letter of intent to officially become a Buckeye on Nov. 13, the first day of the early signing period. He is a three-star power forward prospect from Glen Head (N.Y.) Long Island Lutheran.
At the time Key committed, just two weeks after visiting Columbus, he had planned to take official visits to Florida and Marquette but canceled both and chose the Scarlet and Gray.
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound Key is the No. 160 overall prospect and No. 31 power forward nationally, as well as the No. 5 prospect in New York. In addition to Florida and Marquette, Key held offers from Boston College, Buffalo, Charlotte and more.
Brown III is a four-star shooting guard from the Decatur (Ga.) Southwest DeKalb, who committed to the Buckeyes on Sept. 16 and signed at his high school on Nov. 15.
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Brown had narrowed his list to six schools with official visits looming to Louisville and Texas A&M prior to his commitment. Browns III is nation’s No. 111 overall recruit, and No. 25 shooting guard, as well as the No. 6 prospect in Georgia for 2020, and BSB also published a scouting report on Brown III.
“Both guys fit our needs, how we want to play, the kind of people they are, the culture of our program, the kind of families they come from,” Holtmann said. “Just like the previously people we recruited in the previous class, we feel strongly about that. We felt like we needed an additional wing/guard and interior guy and potentially a back-to-the-basket scorer. Obviously we’re going to lose Kaleb (Wesson) at some point. So they just really fit our needs and what we were looking for.”
The duo will put the Buckeyes above the scholarship limit for the 2020-21 season by one player. However, it is expected that at least one player will leave the program early, particularly junior big man Kaleb Wesson, who could impress NBA scouts enough to be drafted with an elite season.
“It was a factor, for sure, because you’re always trying to prepare for the unknown,” Holtmann said. “But obviously that’ll be something that we’ll – we didn’t do it just because of that reason by any stretch, because Kaleb’s certainly going to have options at the end of the year, and he and his family will sit down and determine what’s best for him and his future and his career. That’s months away. And obviously he’s a huge part of our program. I think it’s something you consider, but by no means was that exclusively the reason.”
For four free issues of the weekly print edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, no card required, sign up at the link here: http://www.buckeyesports.com/subscribe-4issue-trial/