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Men’s Basketball: Andre Wesson prepares to take big step in upcoming season

Ohio State sophomore forward Andre Wesson (24) looks to pass in the second half in the game against Michigan State on Jan. 7 in Value City Arena. Ohio State won 80-64. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for Design

Andre Wesson did not know whether or not he was going to play last season.

As Ohio State introduced Chris Holtmann as its head coach, Wesson was battling through an undisclosed injury, keeping him off the court until the end of August.

Despite playing early in the season, Wesson said he didn’t fully regain his full conditioning capabilities until late December. Along with the return of his physical capabilities, a comfort and a confidence returned to him at the start of 2018.

The Westerville native does not have to go through that process again this summer. Unlike this time last year, Wesson is preparing for a season in which he sees himself taking a “big step.”

“I mean, still doing the little things that I do because, always, I’m going to do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Wesson said. “So, just doing that and getting my shot more consistent and ball handling and playmaking, I think I can make a big step.”

After averaging 18.5 minutes per game last season, Wesson will likely have an opportunity to have in-game opportunities to improve in those areas offensively because of his versatility on defense, especially following the departures of forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate.

Listed as a forward, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound player has played anywhere from small forward to center, guarding players like former Purdue center Isaac Haas and Indiana forward Juwan Morgan during the 2017-18 season.

For Wesson, guarding players bigger than him is something that he is very used to. It was something he grew up with.

“I think it just comes from guarding [sophomore center Kaleb Wesson] all the time in the backyard,” Wesson said. “That helped out a lot, so that has helped and it’s given me confidence.”

Wesson said the biggest thing in guarding a player with a size advantage is all about planning and placement, putting himself in a position to take away the opponent from an area he likes to shoot or drive the ball.

He said his position, whether he enters the game as the small forward or the power forward, determines his offensive approach for his time in the game.

“I consider myself pretty versatile,” Wesson said. “If I have a bigger guy on me, I can go around him or if there is a smaller guy I can get him in the post or rebound better.”

With the summer to prepare, the growth starts now for the elder Wesson brother, something he feels defines the team as a whole heading into the 2018-19 season.

“Obviously, it’s hard to remake what Keita and J.T. and Kam [Williams] did, but I feel like if everybody pitches in and everybody, just, gets better, develops more, I feel like we can make that up,” Wesson said.

Even though this is the narrative for Ohio State as a whole heading into the 2018-19 season, the same could be said for Wesson, who is one of many attempting to make up for the production that players like Bates-Diop and Tate left.

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