clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson has spent the offseason changing his game

After seeing the lack of low-post scorers taken in this year’s NBA Draft, the sophomore big man is working on expanding his skill set.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“I was watching the draft and I didn’t see anybody who was 6-10, 270, just a low-post scorer. It was actually a lot of motivation. I thought that one aspect of my game would get me there, but I had a (wrong) way of thinking that. Watching the draft really put that in concrete for me. That part of the game’s not there anymore. You have to expand your game.”

Ohio State basketball forward Kaleb Wesson via Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State forward Kaleb Wesson had a strong first season with the Buckeyes, earning Big Ten All-Freshman honors by averaging 10.2 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game. It wasn’t all easy for Wesson though, as teams found ways to neutralize the big man late in the season.

In the NCAA Tournament, both South Dakota State and Gonzaga frequently went with small lineups that kept Wesson off of the floor. Against South Dakota State, Wesson saw just seven minutes of playing time in the win over the Jackrabbits. In the next round against Gonzaga, Wesson played just 12 minutes, finishing with more fouls than points in the loss.

With the way the game of basketball is changing— with the outside shot becoming more prevalent—, Wesson has to expand his game to find new ways to be effective. Not only is Wesson working on being more explosive around the basket, but he is also putting more work into his outside shot to help him become more versatile.

Another area that Wesson is working on this year is being able to guard some of the smaller, quicker perimeter players that relegated him to the bench last year. To help Wesson in this area the sophomore has been working on guarding C.J. Jackson and Duane Washington, two of the faster Buckeyes on the roster.

Wesson isn’t just putting in work on the court during the offseason, but he has also put an emphasis on cutting some extra weight. After being listed at 270 pounds on the Ohio State roster, Wesson weighed in at 289 pounds by the end of the year. Andre Wesson has been helping his younger brother this offseason, showing him what foods are better to help keep his weight down.

After realizing how the game of basketball has shifted, and how guys like him aren’t quite as in-demand at the next level anymore, Kaleb Wesson has plenty to prove this year. Wesson got his Ohio State career off to a solid start and he is working hard to improve in his sophomore season. If Wesson is able to get the changes he is making in his game to translate, there is no question he’ll be hearing his name called when it comes time for him to enter the NBA Draft.

Before jetting off to Spain on August 1st, the Ohio State’s men’s basketball team will hold an open practice at Value City Arena on July 31st from 5-6:30 p.m. The doors at the Northwest Rotunda will open at 5:00 p.m. and seating will be on the south side of the arena behind the team benches. Head coach Chris Holtmann and selected players will address fans in attendance following the practice at about 6:00 p.m. before the program wraps up around 6:30 p.m.

Following the open practice, Ohio State will head to Spain, with the first stop on the itinerary being Madrid. The Buckeyes will spend a couple of days there, finishing their stay by playing the Madrid Generals. Ohio State will then head to Valencia and Barcelona, playing games in each city before heading back to Columbus on August 11th.

The overseas trip is something a program is allowed to do once every four years, and is extremely beneficial because not only does it give the team a new cultural experience, but also allows them 10 extra practices. With a team that is young and still coming together in Chris Holtmann’s second year as head coach, the trip could set the foundation for another successful season for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell has been named to the Paul Hornung Award watchlist. The Paul Hornung Award is given annually to the player judged to be the most versatile in the NCAA.

The Paul Hornung Award is still relatively new, having been given out since just 2010, but the majority of the winners during that time have excelled on the offensive side of the football at wide receiver and running back along, as well as special teams. But, there have been a few instances where the recipient of the award has excelled on both sides of the football, with the most recent being Jabrill Peppers of Michigan.

Parris Campbell is on the watchlist for the award this year after catching 40 passes for 584 yards and three touchdowns last year, as well as averaging 36.6 yards per kick return. Campbell looks primed for an even bigger season this year, as Ohio State looks to emphasize the passing game more with new quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

Campbell is one of 43 players included on the initial Paul Hornung Award watchlist, and one of just five players from the Big Ten included. Joining Campbell from the Big Ten are Donovan Peoples-Jones from Michigan, Ty Johnson from Maryland, Rodney Smith from Minnesota, and J.D. Spielman from Nebraska. The winner of this year’s award will be announced on December 5th.

In more award watchlist news, yesterday Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman was named to the Ray Guy Award watchlist. The Ray Guy Award is given annually by the Augusta Sports Council to college football’s most outstanding punter.

Last year was Chrisman’s first year as the starting punter for Ohio State after taking over for 2016 finalist Cameron Johnston, and Chrisman didn’t take long to get comfortable in the starting role. Chrisman finished 14th in the nation with a 44.24 yard net average per punt. The outstanding punting from Chrisman last year led to him being named a semifinalist for the award.

Chrisman will be looking to join B.J. Sander, who won the award in 2003, as just the second winner from Ohio State. Aside from Sander and Johnston, no other Buckeye punt has been named a finalist for the award since its inception in 2000. Last year the award was won by Michael Dickson of Texas