Kaleb Wesson Declares for Draft, Likely Done at Ohio State

Bruce Hooley

The chances Kaleb Wesson plays another game in an Ohio State uniform is a lot like the possibility of an upcoming Easter egg hunt or Memorial Day cookout.

You can't say for certain it won't happen, but you'd be pretty safe assuming that.

Wesson has entered his name in the NBA Draft as a junior and plans to hire an NCAA-certified agent, giving him a loophole through which he can return to OSU if he chooses.

His social media post announcing his decision reads more like a farewell letter than it does a wait-and-see deliberation.

Wesson thanked his teammates for "helping and supporting me over my three seasons. What we accomplished together, two NCAA Tournaments, and for sure another had we been able to play this season out to the end. There were so many great moments, huge wins and experiences we had together than I will never forget."

Wesson stuck his toe in these same early-declaration waters at this time last year, but that was to gain insight into what he needed to work on to make himself a viable NBA player.

The word came back that Wesson needed to get quicker to become a better ball-screen defender. He lost 35 pounds and stayed out of foul trouble much more successfully this past season, but there isn't another realistic leap in athleticism for him to attain.

For that reason, OSU's coaching staff has been operating under the assumption Wesson would not return next season, unless his brother, Andre, had been granted an extra year of eligibility with other seniors who were denied the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament by COVID-19 precautions.

The NCAA instead granted that extra season only to spring sports athletes, so Andre Wesson's career ended with OSU's fourth-place finish in the Big Ten.

Wesson started all 31 games for OSU and led the team in scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg). His 42.5% three-point percentage led the team and makes him attractive as a stretch forward in the pros.

His ability to defend elite NBA big men remains in question, however, and Wesson hasn't yet displayed the ballhandling skills to create his own shot against close defensive coverage on the perimeter.

Wesson is the third Ohio State player who could have returned for 2020-21 who instead is choosing to play elsewhere next season. Freshmen D.J. Carton and Alonzo Gaffney previously decided to leave the program.

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