In case you missed it over the 4th of July weekend, Ohio State basketball added a big name to their future plans. The Buckeyes picked up the commitment of 2017 big man Kaleb Wesson from nearby Westerville South. The 6'9 Wesson led Westerville South to the state championship game last season, and an impressive 27-2 record.
ESPN has Wesson as a four-star prospect, the third best in Ohio, with offers from Iowa, Xavier and Purdue. Wesson has a lot of high school basketball left to play, so that offer list could grow, as well as his game, but he already projects to be a scoring threat down low, with great hands.
A highly touted local big man pledging to play for the Scarlet and Gray is great news, but given Ohio State's scholarship and roster situation, Wesson's commitment also raises some questions for Ohio State basketball in the next few years.
Are all of these big men going to play?
Wesson isn't the only big man slated to join Ohio State in the near future. The 2016 class is headlined by 6'9 Derek Funderburk, and 6'10 Micah Potter will either join the Buckeyes in the 2016 class (where he is currently classified) or the 2017 class (should he elect to reclassify). Ohio State has loaded up on frontcourt players recently as well, as 7'0 Trevor Thompson is only a redshirt sophomore, along with redshirt freshman Dave Bell, and true freshman Daniel Giddens. Plus, sophomore Jae'Sean Tate is going to see time at power forward in some lineups. With Wesson and Tate, that's seven players for maybe two frontcourt spots, and not all of these guys can play together.
Nobody on that list projects to be a one and done player, and maybe only Giddens is really likely to leave to pursue professional basketball after two seasons. Maybe this means Ohio State is planning on playing big over the next few seasons. Maybe somebody on that list pursues a transfer to find more playing time down the road. Maybe all of this works out just fine!
After a few years of not having enough reliable big men, and struggling to get any sort of low post offense, having a bevy of options on the roster might seem like a godsend for Ohio State fans, and maybe it will be, since there's a lot to like about each one of these players. But having a ton of options down low might mean the Buckeyes are shorthanded in other places.
Do they have enough point guards?
Ohio State's roster only has one true point guard at the moment, true freshman A.J. Harris, and nobody else is slotted to join the roster over the next two recruiting classes. The Buckeyes do have multiple options who can be secondary ballhandlers, like fellow freshman guard JaQuan Lyle, redshirt sophomore guard Kam Williams, and true freshman forward Mickey Mitchell. It's entirely possible that Harris is awesome for Ohio State, and they're able to effectively break up ballhandling and playmaking between him and those other players. But if Harris doesn't work out for some reason, or gets hurt, the Buckeyes could be in big trouble in the future. After all, having all the big men options in the world isn't so helpful if you don't have a great way of getting them the ball, and depending on how things work out, the Buckeyes might not have the ability to get another player to balance out their roster.
Are they done recruiting now?
On paper, Ohio State doesn't have any more scholarships to give for the 2016 or 2017 classes. This a very young roster (they loaded up during their last two classes), with only Marc Loving projected to graduate and leave the roster before 2017. If nothing else changes over the next two years, the Buckeyes are done adding players.
That would mean that Ohio State wouldn't have room to add their top 2017 target, five-star SG Gary Trent Jr, out of Minnesota. Trent was thought to be an Ohio State lean for a while (his father played at Ohio, and he lived in the state for a long time), but his recruitment has recently exploded, and Duke now heavily figures into the picture. It is unclear if accepting Wesson's commitment means Ohio State has given up on Trent, but for somebody of his talent, if he decided he wanted to go to Columbus, the Buckeyes would find a way. Ohio State is also still reportedly looking at guard options in the 2016 class.
It's important to remember that there is still an awful lot of basketball to be played before the 2017 recruiting class is finalized, and it would not surprise me if Ohio State added at least one more scholarship opening to either class. It's entirely possible that JaQuan Lyle or Daniel Giddens leave the program after two years at Ohio State (or even earlier, if they have monster freshman years), or for a member of the team to transfer should they get passed on the depth chart. It's hard to project with total certainty that far out.
Ohio State fans saw what it was like when one position group isn't working out and they lack the scholarships to fix it immediately, with their frontcourt situation over the last few seasons. Ohio State could potentially find themselves in that position with guards over the next few years. Or Ohio State's young options could mature just in time to welcome a slew of young big men, and Ohio State competes for multiple Big Ten titles.
The future is very bright at center and power forward. There's a lot to love about the rest of the future rosters, but there are some questions too.