Ohio State will open its 2019-20 men's basketball season by hosting Cincinnati for the first time in nearly 98 years. The Buckeyes and Bearcats will meet Nov. 6 in Value City Arena, marking only the 12th time the in-state programs have met and the second time in as many years that they’ve played each other within state lines after having not done so since 1921. In preparation for the start of the season, The Dispatch is counting down with power rankings for each member of the Ohio State roster.

These rankings are an educated guess at which players will have the most significant on-court impact during the course of the season.

No. 3: Andre Wesson

Position: Forward

Class: Senior

Height/weight: 6 feet 6 / 220 pounds

Jersey number: 24

Background: A strong senior season at Westerville South helped get Wesson onto Ohio State’s radar, and when the Buckeyes offered him a scholarship after he led the Wildcats to a state title he opted to take it and join his bigger-but-younger brother Kaleb at the school where their father, Keith, played. He was a three-star recruit in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, which also placed him as the No. 17 prospect from Ohio, the No. 54 small forward in the nation and the overall No. 274 recruit.

2018-19 stats: In 35 games including 34 starts, Wesson finished third on the team in scoring average at 8.6 points per game. He played 30.0 minutes per game, shot 33.6 percent from three-point range and added 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

Need to know: Wesson was recruited by Chris Holtmann while at Butler. He lost his two front teeth while diving for a loose ball in high school and lost them again during his junior season at Ohio State. Wesson selected his jersey number to honor Kobe Bryant. He’s not a fan of social media. After his freshman season, Wesson missed the entirety of the summer while dealing with an undisclosed health situation that would set him back until about midseason. His teammates call him “Dre.”

2018-19 recap: After enjoying a full, healthy offseason, Wesson proved himself a key member of Holtmann’s plans at both ends of the court. Wesson played and guarded multiple positions, even filling in at center, and saw his production rise to career-high totals in every significant category. He scored a season-high 22 points in a home loss to Purdue, and his dunk clinched a crucial win at Indiana when the Buckeyes ran his brother as a decoy one play after the older Wesson came up with a steal.

2019-20 outlook: Wesson has seen it all during his three seasons, going from a team that missed out on the postseason entirely during his freshman year to assuming critical roles on two NCAA Tournament teams. Now it’s his chance to take the reins and lead the Buckeyes as far as he can, and all indications are that he’s embracing that challenge. He’s become more vocal in the locker room and assumed a leadership role that Holtmann has tasked him with.

Given the greater depth on Ohio State’s roster, Wesson figures to spend the majority of his time at his natural small forward position. From there, he will be able to use his defensive versatility to defend on the perimeter and also create more offensive opportunities. Throughout the preseason, Holtmann has lauded him as the team’s most efficient three-point shooter.

This is his last go-around, and Wesson knows it. On a team looking for veterans to lead, the Buckeyes will go as far as the lone scholarship senior can help carry them. Expect an impassioned season from Wesson and one in which he puts together his most-polished body of work.

“I wouldn’t change anything,” he told The Dispatch of his journey. “It was definitely a learning experience my freshman year, and to go through that I think that it definitely helped me to see what I don’t want to happen, not making the tournament or not having any postseason play definitely hurts. Going through that and knowing that you’ve got to push yourself to get the most out of every day to get to where you want to get.”

Additional reading:

A look at each Ohio State player as the preseason begins

Andre Wesson’s summer better than year ago

Andre Wesson stays dedicated amid health issue

Love of game stays strong for Ohio State’s Andre Wesson through health issue

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy