The Ohio State men’s basketball 2020 recruiting class finished No. 62 in the nation and ninth in the Big Ten, per the 247Sports player rankings.
Head coach Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes addressed two important needs in the 2020 class, bringing in a versatile, defensively sound wing in Decatur (Ga.) Southwest DeKalb four-star wing Eugene Brown III and an athletic rim protector in Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran three-star center Zed Key.
Following the departures of DJ Carton to Marquette and Luther Muhammad to Arizona State, the Scarlet and Gray’s need for solid backcourt depth and wing play became even more apparent.
Brown III brings the ability to score near the rim and from the perimeter, but his greatest strength is his defense. He provides a needed skillset to a guard group that will include fifth-year senior C.J. Walker, junior Duane Washington and graduate transfer Abel Porter.
The off-guards will also compete for playing time with the wings, including transfer Seth Towns, junior Justin Ahrens, as well as Justice Sueing and Musa Jallow, who are both coming off injuries.
Brown III represents the No. 113 overall prospect and No. 19 shooting guard in the 2020 class, per 247Sports. According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Brown III is the nation’s No. 116 overall recruit and No. 20 shooting guard, as well as Georgia’s ninth-highest rated prospect.
The two-way wing from Decatur showed his versatility as a senior at Southwest DeKalb, averaging 16.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.8 steals per game. Ohio State also must replace its best defensive player in Andre Wesson, who exhausted all his eligibility, and Brown III may offer the best skillset to try to compensate for that loss.
Key helps Ohio State address one of its biggest weaknesses on its roster following the departure of Kaleb Wesson, who declared early for the 2020 NBA Draft. Alonzo Gaffney also decided to leave Columbus in pursuit of a pro career, so the only bigs remaining were senior forward Kyle Young, sophomore forward E.J. Liddell and sophomore center Ibrahima Diallo.
New York’s fourth-highest rated recruit, Key, is 247Sports’ No. 150 overall player and No. 27 center in the 2020 cycle. The big man from Long Island is rated higher by the 247Sports Composite rankings, representing the nation’s No. 136 overall recruit and No. 22 center.
Key averaged 18.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game as a senior at Long Island Lutheran, where he led his team to a 22-3 mark and the No. 1 ranking in the state before the season was cut short due to COVID-19 cancellations.
Both Brown and Key project to have an impact on the 2020-21 Buckeyes rotation, which will look drastically different than last season after losing Kaleb and Andre Wesson, Carton, Muhammad and Gaffney and bringing in Brown III and Key in addition to Porter and Towns as transfers.
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