Thad Matta's emphasis on signing big men continued over the holiday weekend, as the Ohio State coach received a verbal commitment from 4-star center Kaleb Wesson. The Westerville, Ohio native is the first commitment for the Buckeyes of the Class of 2017, choosing Ohio State over Iowa, Purdue, and Xavier among others. As a sophomore, Wesson led Westerville South to a 27-2 record, averaging 11.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game.
Wesson is one of the most highly rated big men of the 2017 class. The 6'9", 270 pound behemoth is rated as the #53 overall player and the #12 center in the country by Scout.com, and Rivals rated Wesson as the #77 overall player in the Class of 2017. He helped elevate his stock last month by impressing at the USA Basketball 16U trials at Colorado Springs.
Wesson is big. Big enough that he was also projected as a potential offensive lineman at the college level. He moves pretty well for a player of his stature and is very good at making himself available when rolling to the basket. At the 16U trials, Wesson was able to get a lot of put-back baskets simply by muscling his way into position. Put-backs and post ups are where most of Wesson's offense comes from, but even he admits that he has to improve upon the latter before he makes it to the next level.
In an interview with Scout.com, Wesson was quick to point out what he still needs to improve in addition to what he already does well: "I can play with my back to the basket and I rebound. I'm a great passer out of the post. I need to work on my post moves and conditioning. I'm trying to expand my game." Fortunately for him, Wesson has a few years to do just that, and should be a much more polished player by the time he reports to Columbus.
Wesson is just the latest in a flurry of commitments over the last few years of power forwards and centers for Matta. Amir Williams and Trey McDonald disappointed the last few years, so Matta has gone out of his way to stockpile as many frontcourt players as possible to prevent a similar letdown in the future. This season, 7-foot transfer Trevor Thompson (Virginia Tech), 4-star center Daniel Giddens, and redshirt freshman David Bell will all become eligible. Next season, centers Derek Funderbunk and Micah Potter join the fold, and are actually the only Class of 2016 players that Matta has signed to this point.
So by the time Wesson starts playing for Ohio State in 2017, there could be a logjam at the center position. But much like Ohio State's current quarterback dilemma, that would be a good problem for Matta to have. The Buckeyes got a commitment from a good player in Wesson, and it should be a fun couple of years for Matta watching Wesson turn into even more of a dominating force.