When high school athletes are preparing for their senior seasons in their respective sports, it is common to hear that they are looking to improve a particular set of skills or leadership qualities before their last go-round. That was not the focus for basketball standout Kaleb Wesson.
The Westerville (Ohio) South product weighed about 325 pounds after the 2015-16 season, his junior year. Being committed to Ohio State at that time, Wesson knew he had to do something about his frame if he wanted to compete at a high level on the college hardwood. With that in mind, the 6-9 center dropped a little more than 40 pounds to arrive at his current weight of 280.
“It was a lot of time (and dedication),” Wesson told Scout. “In the summer, kids will say they are bored and all of that. When I’d get bored I’d go to the gym. When I’d get something to eat, I’d get water with my meal instead of getting a juice or something. I’d tell my parents, ‘Can we get more fruit in the house instead of getting snacks?’ It was mainly choices of just doing different things.”
Following his body transformation, Wesson shot 67.0 percent from the floor while averaging 22.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game as a senior for the Wildcats. His production this past winter led to him being named The Associated Press Mr. Ohio Basketball for 2017.
Prior to his final season at Westerville South, Wesson tried out for the U.S. Junior National Select Team. Participating in those tryouts proved to be the catalyst for the weight loss, according to what his father told Scout.
“Kaleb was a part of the USA tryouts, and he felt as though he had a really great chance of making the travel team, and he didn’t,” said Keith Wesson, who played for the Ohio State basketball team from 1983-87. “One of the things I think they told him and that he found out is they just felt he wasn’t athletic enough, probably because he had to get his weight down a little bit. He really took that to heart and shed a bunch of weight between that time and the start of the season.”
Kaleb Wesson will be reuniting with his older brother, Andre, who was a freshman at Ohio State last season and played three years with Kaleb at Westerville South. When the youngest Wesson gets to campus, others will see first-hand that he is self-driven.
“He’s always been the type of player where you don’t have to tell him to put the work in like, ‘Hey, you’ve got to go here, you’ve got to do this,’” Keith Wesson said of Kaleb, who signed with Ohio State in November. “He just does it, and that’s really how any player sort of reaches their full potential. You’ve got to do those things when people don’t know you’re doing them, and that’s what he does.”
This story was originally published in Buckeye Sports Bulletin, the newspaper “For The Buckeye Fan Who Needs To Know More” since 1981. For four free trial issues of Buckeye Sports Bulletin with no obligation, click here.