Recruit dons Boise St. face mask to reveal choice

  • Covers college basketball
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
  • Graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato

Most high school recruits wear a hat when they pick a college. R.J. Keene chose to wear a mask.

In what appears to be an original concept, Keene, a four-star prospect from Houston who committed to coach Leon Rice’s Boise State basketball team on Thursday, used his commitment announcement to advocate wearing masks to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The 6-foot-7 wing in the Class of 2021 worked with Houston NBC affiliate KPRC2 to create multiple masks that featured his final schools: Boise State, Utah State, George Washington, Iona and Hawai’i.

The goal? Convince more people to wear masks.

“Coronavirus is the biggest thing right now, and for me committing, to be honest, I’m the least most important thing right now,” he told ESPN. “I want to spread awareness that everyone should wear masks so we can get back to basketball.”

On Thursday, health officials announced that the United States had surpassed 4 million cases of the coronavirus.

Keene made a separate video to announce his commitment to Boise State, which he has visited only virtually because of the pandemic.

“I had the best relationship with the coaches and this is a match made in heaven,” he said. “They put dudes in the [NBA].”

Keene said he hopes other prospects will make their announcements by donning masks. But he’s mostly focused on using his platform to encourage others to wear masks.

“It’s a sickness and you do not want to get sick,” he said. “To stop it from spreading, it’s as simple as wearing a mask. That’s the thing. What does it take? Three seconds? I have a young audience. This might make a bunch of 10-year-olds put on masks.”

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