Kaleb Wesson is the enlarged heart and soul of Ohio State this season. If there was any more evidence needed of this, his absence near the end of the year nearly derailed the Buckeyes’ NCAA Tournament hopes. He served a 3-game suspension an unknown violation of Ohio State’s athletic department policy.
While the 6-foot-9, 270-pounder was gone, the Buckeyes lost consecutive double-digits games to Purdue (by 33) and last-place Northwestern (by 18). He returned just in time for the Big Ten Tournament, racking up a double-double versus Indiana to get on the right side of the bubble.
As if that wasn’t enough, he willed the Buckeyes to a 62-59 victory over the 6th-seeded Iowa State Cyclones with 21 points to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It set up a Sunday night tilt with No. 3 Houston (8:40 p.m. EST, TNT).
Wesson is averaging 14.6 points and 6.9 rebounds this season. Even with his size, he is draining just under 35 percent of his 3-pointers.
With such production, how’s he looking as an NBA prospect for this summer’s draft? Let’s look at his projections, mock drafts and stock.
Kaleb Wesson Draft Projections & Mock Drafts
Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype aggregates 5 different mocks from Bleacher Report, SI.com, ESPN, The Athletic and NBA Draft. Wesson doesn’t appear on any of them.
Wesson is only a sophomore, so a return to Ohio State for another season is warranted. A season with increased production, and possibly an even more consistent 3-point touch, could see him climb into second-round projections.
Kaleb Wesson Scouting Report
Watching Wesson, you can’t help but be reminded of former North Carolina center Sean May. The former North Carolina Tar Heel fueled a run to the 2005 NCAA Championship, notching a 26-point, 10-rebound double-double versus Illinois in the title game.
May and Wesson are very similarly built. Both stand 6-foot-9, and May was only a few pounds lighter at 266 pounds. May used a big backside to push defenders out of the lane en route to 17.5 points a game as a junior.
This production led to a first-round selection in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. That was a different NBA, though, as the emphasis has gone away from true post presences to 5’s that can stretch a defense.
This is where Wesson is heading. Here he is hitting a triple off a pick-and-pop versus Cincinnati.
One thing that he has occasionally shown as a weakness: his hands. In a matchup versus a very good defense in Michigan, various Wolverine defenders, including point guard Zavier Simpson, were able to dislodge the ball from Wesson’s hands near the basket.
If you want to consistently score the garbage points around the rim, this needs to be fixed. Otherwise, his offensive game is developing into an NBA contributor.