Top-30 prospect Malaki Branham committed to Ohio State on Wednesday, giving Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes their third ESPN 100 prospect in the 2021 class.

Branham chose Ohio State over Alabama, Baylor, Louisville, Missouri, Marquette and Xavier. The Columbus, Ohio, native had officially visited Ohio State, but also took unofficial trips to Louisville and Xavier.

“I chose them because they didn’t recruit me like an in-state kid. They were slightly annoying, in a good way,” Branham told ESPN. “They never stopped calling and never got too comfortable. They’ve shown me how I can flourish in their system with my versatility at the guard position. They also believe in my abilities at the highest level.”

Long considered a candidate to stay home for school, Branham insisted he wasn’t a lock for Ohio State and legitimately considered the other schools on his final list.

“That was the biggest misconception in my recruitment through other coaches,” Branham said. “My family will go anywhere to support me and I know if I would’ve gone across the globe that would still be there for me. It just came down to best fit, and it was truly a tough choice through the final schools that I had on my list.

“It wasn’t easy at all, and I want everyone to understand that I truly took into account the schools that genuinely recruited me and were serious about me being a part of their program.”

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (Ohio) — the same high school LeBron James went to — Branham is ranked No. 28 in the ESPN 100 for 2021. He slots in as the No. 5 player in the class at his position.

Branham is Holtmann’s third ESPN 100 prospect in the 2021 recruiting class, joining point guard Meechie Johnson (No. 45) and power forward Kalen Etzler (No. 97). Both players committed in the spring or summer of 2019. Ohio State also has Bucknell transfer Jimmy Sotos (11.5 PPG, 3.9 APG), who would have to sit out next season if he doesn’t receive a waiver to play immediately.