One of the biggest offseason questions for Ohio State basketball might already have an answer pretty soon. Thanks to the transfer of Austin Grandstaff, the Buckeyes have one extra scholarship for either the 2016 or 2017 class. There were lots of questions about what direction Ohio State might try to go. Grab an instant impact graduate transfer for next season? Roll it over for next year? Try to find a diamond in the rough prospect for 2016?
The answer might have come last night, as Ohio State finally issued an offer to 2016 wing Andre Wesson, the brother of current Ohio State 2017 commit Kaleb Wesson. Andre, a 6'7 wing from Westerville South, is a three-star prospect with offers from Richmond, Xavier, Akron and others, and has been one of the most improved players over the course of the high school basketball season. Westerville South also just won a state championship, knocking off multiple other programs with DI caliber talent.
Wesson hasn't committed yet, but he's considered a very strong Ohio State lean. So what happens next? Here are a few scenarios.
Andre Wesson commits to Ohio State
This is probably the most likely scenario. Wesson would be the third 2016 Ohio State commit, joining big men Micah Potter and Derek Funderburk. There's some potential room for a scoring wing to make a big impact for the Buckeyes right away next season, if this year's performance was any indication, but Wesson's defense is probably ahead of his offense right now. It seems reasonable to imagine him getting some minutes early in Ohio State's season, but then falling near the end of the rotation once Big Ten play begins, something that has been typical for freshman under Thad Matta.
With some seasoning, Wesson could become a valuable defensive contributor soon after, helping anchor the wing after players like Marc Loving, Keita Bates-Diop and Jae'Sean Tate leave the program. His offer sheet isn't the most impressive, but Wesson's play over the last few months should assuage any lingering doubts that he could play for Ohio State.
If, for whatever reason, Wesson doesn't come to Columbus, the Buckeyes still have a scholarship open. There are two likely options then.
Ohio State pursues a graduate transfer for the 2016 class
The Buckeyes have done this before, grabbing Temple graduate transfer Anthony Lee, and pursuing multiple guards last season. Ohio State could use another point guard, or a scoring-first wing, and options will probably open up over the next few weeks. This would be an attractive option on multiple levels, since it would re-open a scholarship for the next class, and give Ohio State some additional leadership for what will still be a relatively young team. We're too early in the process to throw out specific names, but this could be a possibility.
Ohio State adds PG Markell Johnson
Johnson is a four-star point guard from Cleveland, and one of the best players in Ohio according to virtually every recruiting service. He's currently classified as a 2017 prospect, but is reportedly considering reclassifying to 2016. Johnson would be a major coup for Ohio State, since point guard depth is a concern for this team, now, and in the future. The Buckeyes are the favorite in the 247 Crystal Ball, but it's very close. Virginia Tech is a major player in this recruitment, as is Louisville, who could get more involved now that Frankie Hughes has decommitted. If I had a Crystal Ball pick, I would not slot Ohio State for Johnson at the moment.
Another thing to consider, is that while Ohio State does not currently have a 2017 scholarship to give if Andre Wesson commits in 2016, they could very well have one open up. Marc Loving will be graduating, but with a successful season, somebody like Keita Bates-Diop, Daniel Giddens or JaQuan Lyle could decide to leave for the NBA or Europe, opening up a spot. It's also possible that a player currently on the roster decides to transfer. The Buckeyes are still recruiting, and will continue to recruit, players in the 2017 class.
I think the most likely outcome is that Ohio State adds Andre Wesson for 2016, giving the Buckeyes another talented wing to work with, and will make their next big retool in the 2018 recruiting class. But we're a long way away from next season, and a lot can change.