The junior center is facing complications surrounding workouts and interviews and maybe even the draft itself, all caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kaleb Wesson is going to explore his NBA draft options while retaining his college eligibility. After a second-team all-Big Ten season for Ohio State, that much was going to be a given.
Now, the question is whether the uncertainty regarding the pre-draft process and when the draft might even take place are having an impact on whether Wesson will enter the draft or return to the Buckeyes for his senior season.
Keith Wesson, Kaleb’s father, told The Dispatch on Tuesday that all of the unknowns are making it difficult for the family to get a real read on what the future could hold.
"He’ll definitely test the waters, but he’s going to maintain his eligibility based upon information because it’s just so unknown," Keith Wesson said. "There may not be any opportunities to increase your value from the standpoint of workouts and combines and really solidify your position."
The NBA has tentatively set dates for the draft while recognizing that there is no concrete date for the resumption of the season, which has been suspended by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Underclassmen currently have until April 26 to declare for the draft, with the draft combine scheduled for May 19-24 and the deadline for early draft withdraw to retain NCAA eligibility set for June 3.
All of that is guesswork at this point, and the uncertainty is especially impactful on a player such as Wesson.
After shedding nearly 50 pounds during the offseason, he brought a more well-rounded game to his junior year and shot a career-high 42.5% from three-point range while averaging a team-high 14.0 points and career-high 9.3 rebounds per game.
Defensively, the weight loss and improved conditioning helped make him a more adept ball-screen defender and allowed him to cut down on foul trouble.
It also helped Ohio State to a 21-10 record and had the Buckeyes looking to make a deep run in first the Big Ten tournament and then the NCAA Tournament, both of which were canceled. That, too, removed a potential platform for Wesson to showcase his talents on a national stage.
But his shortened season is all on video, and it has moved him into the second round of most NBA mock drafts. But the ability to show his game in NBA workouts might not be available this year, preventing him from solidifying his stock in the draft.
"Oh, yeah, it definitely increases the chances of coming back," Keith Wesson said. "Nobody knows anything. We’ve talked to several different agents through the process of interviewing and literally none of them know anything. They say the draft is going to be moved back. They don’t know when or if combines or workouts are going to happen or even if the combine will happen."
Players are permitted to work with certified agents through the draft process and retain collegiate eligibility.
After a sophomore season in which he averaged 14.6 points and 6.9 rebounds, Wesson went through the NBA draft process without hiring an agent and had workouts for the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks before returning to Ohio State.