A couple weeks ago, Tennessee watched New York big man Zed Key as he participated in the Adidas Gauntlet in Dallas, Texas. Shortly after, associate head coach Michael Schwartz reached out to Key and told him that UT was interested in him and would keep in touch with him.
“He said he really liked the way I played this weekend and said ‘I would like to get to know you,'” Key told me in a recent interview.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward plays for the Adidas-sponsored NY Jayhawks AAU team during the late spring and summer, and that’s how Schwartz found the big post player. Key is enrolled at Long Island Lutheran and transferred there from Brentwood (NY) this past year for “better academics” and to play against better competition.
Right now, Key is rated as the No. 255 overall prospect in the 2020 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. But recruiting services have had him listed anywhere between a small forward and a center because he’s hit growth spurts and added on bulk over the last year or so.
So, how does Key view himself?
“I would list myself as a power forward,” Key explained. “In college, I’m not really a center at this height. So I’ve worked on my guard skills and footwork away from the basket.
“I’m definitely not a center.”
The athletic big man has a versatile skill set, and he impressed during this past season at Long Island Lutheran. In 13 recorded games this season, Key averaged 16.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, and around two blocks per game according to PrepCircut.com.
According to Key, he brings a lot to the table as a post player.
“My biggest strength is definitely posting up, back to the basket,” Key stated. “I’m good at rebounding the ball on the offensive and defensive ends. Finishing over both shoulders, left hand and right hand jump hooks, and my footwork around the basket.”
But Key is the first to admit he’s far from a perfect prospect. The one area Key says he needs to improve the most is his conditioning.
“Definitely gotta get that up,” Key said of his conditioning. “Been working out, running on the treadmill, sprinting outside and jumping rope to get my wind up.”
Right now, teams like Florida, Georgia, Penn State Rutgers, and Seton Hall have been contacting Key the most. While he says he doesn’t have a strong timeline figured out as to when he wants to make a college decision, he thinks it’ll be sometime near the end of this year or the start of his senior season.
As for visits, Tennessee is for sure getting one.
Key said that he is “definitely” planning on visiting Knoxville, and he wants to visit Florida, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, and “hopefully” Rutgers as well.
As of now, Key holds offers from Cincinnati, Florida, Illinois, Penn State, St. Louis, and Buffalo among many others. Though Tennessee hasn’t offered yet, expect the Vols to keep in touch with Key as the summer months go on.
In five games for the NY Jayhawks in the Adidas Gauntlet, Key averaged 7.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game according to ExposureSportsNews.com. He shot 47.2 percent from the field overall on 36 field goal attempts.