The rumors were circulating on the North Shore well before a ball was officially bounced this winter.
They went something like this:
Have you heard about Salem’s transfer from Mississippi? He’s 6-foot-8 and is being recruited by Kentucky.
The player in question was Rashad Keys.
Yes, he is a transfer and he did move to Salem from Mississippi. But his height was slightly over-exaggerated and, while he will likely have an opportunity to play basketball at the college level, John Calipari hasn’t been spotted at Salem High School just yet.
What was implied by the rumors that actually rings true is that Keys is a difference-maker for the Witches.
He’s one of a few local transfers that is making a major impact for his new program.
Keys is a long, lean, athletic 6-4 player who has already given Salem a huge boost on both ends of the floor.
The Witches entered this season with minimal experience. Salem head coach Tommy Doyle had the luxury of bringing back his top two reserves from last winter — guard Jamie Dominguez and forward David Kazadi — but not much else in the way of seasoned players.
Keys has fit in well so far for the 4-1 Witches (who square off with undefeated Danvers tonight at home). Salem has been relatively small up front in recent years, but Keys and Kazadi are a pair of legitimate big men as far as North Shore high school basketball goes. The emergence of forward Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez has given the Witches a solid front line.
“We’re playing three what-would-be huge guys for us at the same time. We’re probably 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 (height-wise up front), but they’re so long and they play bigger than they are,” Doyle said. “There’s no size or bulk (to them) but it is a welcome change for us.”