Today’s Topic: Morning Conversational: What Does Kaleb Wesson’s Return Mean for the Buckeyes?
A life preserver doesn’t make for a great boat, but when you’re out in the middle of a lake with no boat to speak of, it’ll do.
If Kaleb Wesson had chosen to stay in the NBA Draft rather than returning for his junior season, the Buckeyes would have been without their boat or a life preserver.
Depending on how you feel about Wesson, you can view him as either the boat or the life preserver, but in the end it doesn’t matter, because without him the Buckeyes were going to be sunk.
Wesson’s return gives the Ohio State basketball program a foundation that they can rely on. No, the suspensions cannot be overlooked, but night in and night out, head coach Chris Holtmann knows where 15 points and 7 rebounds will be coming from.
Had Wesson chosen not to return, the Buckeyes would be going with some combination of an out-of-position Kyle Young and a way-too-young-to-be-playing-yet Ibrahima Diallo.
Now, Diallo can be brought along at a more leisurely pace, and Young can do what he does best as a hyperactive counterpart to Wesson’s building consistency.
The Buckeyes are also increasing their talent base this year with the addition of point guards CJ Walker and DJ Carton, and forwards EJ Liddell and Alonzo Gaffney.
When a team has more options, things get easier for each one of those options.
Wesson was taken out of the Michigan State game back in March by a Spartan defense that was determined not to let him beat them. They can do that when there was nobody else around to make them pay for it. Next season, however, more payments will come due.
For one, freshman guards Duane Washington, Luther Muhammad, and Justin Ahrens will be a year older. Washington showed an ability to get his own shot whenever he wanted. Next year, he’ll start making more of them. The same goes for Muhammad and Ahrens. Muhammad started for much of the season and his offense will start catching up and maybe even surpassing his offense.
Having Wesson back gives the Buckeyes one of their best passers from last season. There will be more shooters for him to kick the ball back out to next season. And with more shooters and scorers available, defenses will be more reticent to double Wesson immediately.
Without Wesson, the ability to find open shots next season would have been very difficult.
The difficult part now, however, will simply be making those open shots.
With Kaleb Wesson back, the Buckeyes return an All-Big Ten caliber player. His return will also make everyone else around him better as well.
Wesson’s return makes this Chris Holtmann’s best roster, and that trend should continue in 2020-2021 as well.