This is a big summer for Andre Wesson for a key reason: the Ohio State junior will actually get to have one with the men’s basketball program.
Last year, as the Buckeyes dealt with the ramifications of a coaching change, Wesson was nothing more than an extra-interested observer as an undisclosed medical condition left him unable to participate in basketball activities. It was a precautionary measure, and he would ultimately be cleared in advance of the season, but it deprived him of a crucial period of development.
Not so this year for Wesson, who will be expected to build on his sophomore season on a team looking for experienced leadership.
“It’s great,” he said Wednesday afternoon at Value City Arena. “Obviously I’m feeling a lot better than I was this time last year with my health and conditioning and everything. I feel good.”
It took until roughly Christmas for Wesson to feel like himself again. When he did, he carved out a significant role in Chris Holtmann’s rotation as a key defender, thanks to his versatility. Starting with a Jan. 11 home game against Maryland, Wesson played at least 18 minutes in each of the final 17 games — half of the season.
Included in there was a breakout game at Purdue, where he set career highs with 13 points in 36 minutes.
“I think the biggest thing was that game really got my confidence going a little bit more, just seeing the ball go in and being able to be a big factor in that game,” he said.
Just as important was his defensive contribution against 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas when Wesson, who is 6 feet 6, played the entire second half and held him to two points as the Buckeyes came from behind for a win on the third-ranked team's court. He would continue to earn minutes because of his ability to guard ball screens and switch onto different positions.
Those are skills he developed as a youngster playing against younger brother Kaleb, a 6-9 center entering his sophomore season with the Buckeyes.
“The biggest thing is scouting, knowing what a guy likes to go to or the spots he likes, and try to get him away from his spots or what he likes to do,” said Andre Wesson, a Westerville South graduate.
Now with a full summer to work on his game, Wesson is trying to increase his role on offense.
“I think I can take a big step,” he said. “Still doing the little things I do, because always I’m going to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Doing that and getting my shot more consistent and ball handling and playmaking, I think I can make a big step.”