Key will play a fifth season of college basketball, but not for the Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Zed Key has been the longest-tenured member of the Ohio State basketball team having spent four years in the program, but now he’s moving on.

The big man was once a three-star recruit in the Buckeyes’ 2020 class and turned into a productive role player for four seasons. Now he’s using his final year of eligibility to make a change of scenery having entered the transfer portal.

Key spent his first season in a backup role behind Kyle Young before spending his sophomore and junior seasons as OSU’s starting center with Young moving to the bench. As a junior that led to him averaging 10.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

As a senior, his career took a similar path as Young’s with him moving into a sixth-man role in favor of the younger Felix Okpara moving into the starting lineup. His counting stats took a hit averaging just 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds because of it.

With the bulk of the roster expecting to return as Jake Diebler takes over, at best Key’s role would look no different than last season as the undersized big making his exodus ideal. Doing so makes him the fourth player from the 2023-24 roster to do so joining Roddy Gayle Jr., Scottie Middleton and Bowen Hardman.

Ohio State will continue to put its roster together this summer. For now, it enters the 2024-25 season with Okpara as its starting center entering his junior season while Austin Parks — who played in nine games — enters Year 2.