On Ohio State men's basketball media day, junior center Kaleb Wesson found himself answering questions from a few distinct categories. Topping the list was conversation about the NBA in addition to his drastic physical transformation.
There was nobody more popular than Kaleb Wesson on Tuesday afternoon at Value City Arena.
It was media day for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, and the junior center was one of nine players available for interviews inside the team’s practice gym. Split into three tables with three players apiece, Wesson sat at the far end of an elevated table with sophomore Duane Washington to his immediate right and junior wing Musa Jallow at the opposite end.
As players wrapped up their interviews, coach Chris Holtmann stood behind a podium in the northwest corner to take questions for roughly half an hour. As he started, though, Wesson was still going strong for an interview session that lasted for 41 minutes and 49 seconds. The team’s leading scorer and rebounder from a season ago, Wesson was also the last player to leave the gym as he answered multiple variations of questions on the same key topics.
He took 114 questions along the way. It’s not necessarily a surprising number given the intrigue that surrounds the junior as he enters what could be his final season with the Buckeyes. In addition to being the focal point of the offense and a likely preseason first-team all-Big Ten player, Wesson has made significant physical transformations to his physique after going through the NBA draft process following his sophomore season.
And the most-discussed topic for Wesson? Going through the NBA process and what that means for his future. In all, the junior took 35 questions on the topic, accounting for 30.7 percent of what was asked of him.
If you can think of it, odds are it was probably answered. In summary, the feedback he received from workouts with Atlanta and Boston told him he needed to be a better perimeter defender, get in better shape and continue to diversify his offensive game. His second workout went better than his first, meaning the Celtics saw a better version of Wesson than the Hawks, and he picked up pieces of advice from everyone from Brad Stevens to Chris Jent to Danny Ainge.
What does it mean for his future and a possible senior season at Ohio State?
“I don’t really think about it like that,” he said. “I’m focusing day-to-day right now, getting better in the weight room with (strength and conditioning coach Quadrian Banks), making sure that my defense is tight. I don’t really think about stuff like that. It would be nice, but as far as I’m concerned right now we’ve got a game against Cedarville on October 30.”
Trailing just behind the NBA talk came the questions about his physique. Wesson answered 29 questions that directly addressed his size, his conditioning, his diet and how all of these changes could impact his season.
That accounted for 25.4 percent of his questions.
Listed at 270 pounds in the new official roster that was handed out to reporters, Wesson said he finished last season at around 289 pounds but weighed himself Tuesday at 255 pounds. It’s the lightest he said he’s been since before high school, and the change tied into all of the feedback he received through the NBA exploration process.
He’s cut out a lot of carbs and sugary drinks, repeating multiple times that he drinks a lot more water than he used to. The worst healthy food he tried came courtesy of Jallow, who offered him a kale chip.
“That’s a good playing weight,” Wesson said of weighing 255 pounds. “I feel like I’m still strong, I still move bodies like I used to, but I’m lighter. I get to spots faster, I stay in front of guards better.”
Eleven questions directly addressed his expectations for the season (9.6 percent), and he took nine questions on his brother, senior forward Andre Wesson (7.9 percent). That latter total also included a rebuttal when told that Andre claims to win when they play each other one-on-one.
“He’s lying,” Kaleb said. “False report.”
The other 30 questions – 26.3 percent – covered various topics from the talents of the four-man freshmen class to the state of basketball in Central Ohio and the opportunity to play against former teammate and Wisconsin transfer Micah Potter this season.
So with all of this data, one question remains: how much did Wesson actually say “NBA” during his 2,509 seconds in the spotlight?