March 19, 2020

Senior Spotlight — Andre Wesson

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COLUMBUS, Ohio April 13, 2016, is the date Andre Wesson officially became a member of the Ohio State men’s basketball team though with his family ties, he was born a Buckeye.

The son of Keith and Stephanie Wesson and the older brother of Kaleb, who committed to the Scarlet and Gray July 3, 2015, Andre earned the Ohio State scholarship offer with a strong senior year at Westerville South High School that ultimately resulted in a state title for the Wildcats in 2016.

Keith played for the Buckeyes from 1983-87, playing in 115 games and scoring 354 career points. Andre appeared in 127 career games and scored 730 points before his career was abruptly ended with the cancellation of the 2020 Big Ten Tournament, the day the event was set to begin for the Buckeyes March 12 in Indianapolis. Kaleb finished his junior year with 96 appearances and 1,240 points.

Combined, the Wessons appeared in 337 games while scoring 2,334 points.

Andre played for two coaches at Ohio State. He was recruited by Thad Matta, playing one year for the all-time wins leader in Ohio State history before completing the final three seasons under the direction of Chris Holtmann, who guided his first two teams to NCAA Tournament appearances before the 2020 event was cancelled with the Buckeyes primed for a third-consecutive trip.

Steady and consistent improvement over his career was the theme of Andre’s career with the Buckeyes.

Over the last two years, Andre appeared in 64 games with 57 starts. As a senior he averaged a career high 9.2 points while connecting on 46% of his field goals and 43% from 3-point range, both tops during his career.

“He is one of the Top 5 toughest dudes we ever coached,” Holtmann said during Senior Night ceremonies after the Buckeyes defeated No. 22 Illinois March 5 in Columbus.

Holtmann said the reason Andre showed such terrific improvement over his career was his work ethic.

“His mechanics are impeccable” Holtmann said.

Holtmann and his staff did not recruit Andre to Ohio State, though they did try to get him to sign with Butler before Holtmann took over with the Buckeyes. Holtmann said he and the Ohio State staff never had concerns about Andre’s commitment.

“There was not one day that went by that we as a coaching staff didn’t say ‘Andre Wesson, he’s our guy,’” Holtmann said.

Andre said it feels like he has been with the men’s basketball program forever.

“You know you’ve been here long when you go through two coaching staffs and a bunch of athletic trainers,” Andre said.

Known for his toughness, Andre did not spend much time in the training room despite his fair share of on-court mishaps.

In a 73-71 win over Bucknell Dec. 15 2018, Andre had a pair of teeth knocked out and cracked a third while diving for a loose ball. After briefly leaving the game, he returned to finish the game with a mouth guard.

Earlier this year, Andre was struck in the eye, fracturing his eye socket, in the season-opening win over Cincinnati. The injury kept him out of just two games before he returned to action to help the Buckeyes to a 10-1 non-conference record.

In all, Andre helped lead the Buckeyes to an overall record of 21-10 during his senior season. After falling behind in the Big Ten Conference race with a 2-6 record, the Buckeyes finished 9-3 down the stretch in league competition for an 11-9 final record in conference play, good enough for a tie for fifth overall in what was believed to be the toughest conference nationally and the best group of league teams in conference history.

Along the way in 2019-20, Ohio State defeated four Top 10 teams (Villanova, North Carolina, Kentucky and Maryland), four league champions (Cincinnati, Villanova, Kentucky and Maryland) and was positioned for a third-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, an accomplishment only a few have managed in Ohio State history.

All-in-all, not a bad run for Andre Wesson.

Noting Andre Wesson:

The date Andre committed to Ohio State was significant in that it also coincided with the final game in the storied career of Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter accident Jan. 26 in California. Andre wore No. 24 as a Buckeye in honor of Bryant.

In Holtmann’s first year in Columbus, the Buckeyes knocked off No. 3 Purdue on the road in West Lafayette, the only home loss for the Boilers that season. Andre made one of his five starts that season in the game vs. Purdue. He responded by making 3 of 5 from 3-point range and 4 of 6 from the field overall for 13 points in 36 minutes.

 

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