Family ties led the Wesson brothers to Ohio State

first_img Published on November 28, 2018 at 11:04 am Contact Anthony: amdabbun@syr.edu After each Ohio State home basketball game, Keith and Stephanie Wesson wait for their two sons in Section 124 of Value City Arena. They’re not alone, though. Andre and Kaleb have at least 20 family members and friends waiting for them post game. Through high school and in college, the Wesson parents have traveled to every home and away game, and the extended family all have home season tickets to follow. “At the end of every game everyone gravitates to us,” Keith said. “Some people call it the Wesson box.”The ability to play in front of grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts and close friends drove Keith to Ohio State in 1982. 31 years after their father graduated from OSU, both Wesson brothers are now starters for the Buckeyes. They’ll play in front of their family in the “Wesson box” Wednesday night for No. 16 Ohio State (6-0) as the Buckeyes host Syracuse (3-2). Andre is now in his third year at Ohio State, Kaleb is in his second. Both have seen a career-high 24.2 minutes per game in 2018.“Growing up in Columbus, all you hear about is Ohio State,” Wesson said. “You hear about all the games, you go to the games, you’re on campus a lot.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKaleb and Andre have played basketball together since they were six years old, at the North YMCA in Columbus. For years, Keith said people tried to separate them. Kaleb’s 6-foot-9 size and ability led to interest from national AAU programs while Andre didn’t initially receive the same recognition.“We never allowed people to separate them,” Keith said.  “If both of them couldn’t play for a team, neither of them could. That was my call.”They attended the same AAU tournaments as members of the Mustang Ballers until Kaleb’s freshman year of high school, when they switched to the All Ohio Red team in the Nike Elite Young Basketball League. The Wesson brothers trained multiple times a week together with Renny Tyson at the Intense Basketball Training Academy, also in Columbus. Even after starting college, Keith said that they still train with Tyson over the summer.Whether it was video games or basketball, the two dueled almost daily. When they weren’t playing one-on-one in the driveway of their Westerville home, they were indoors, playing NBA 2K or Madden.“When they were young, my wife and I thought they were going to kill each other,” Keith said. Eventually, the fighting turned into encouragement as teammates. Andre said that Kaleb is his “biggest supporter.” Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsIn Andre’s junior and Kaleb’s sophomore year at Westerville South High School, they came up one game short of the state championship. Playing on the Ohio State hardwood in front of 10,664 people, it was the biggest crowd they had played in front of. Huber Heights’ Wayne High School defeated the Wessons and Westerville South, 65-57. It was just the second loss of Westerville’s season.Kaleb received an offer from Ohio State near the end of his sophomore year. His father urged him to at least visit other schools. But Kaleb didn’t bother. He only wanted to be a Buckeye.“A lot of people think it was a package deal but it was not,” Keith said. “We always talked about how it would be nice to play together in college though.”At that point, Andre was ending his junior year and hadn’t received as much attention from the high-major Division I schools. His senior year, everything changed. Butler, Texas, Richmond and Xavier showed interest. But in April, then-Ohio State head coach Thad Matta offered. He could play alongside his brother at his father’s alma mater. Even when Matta left after Andre’s freshman year, current Buckeyes’ head coach Chris Holtmann had recruited Andre from his Butler days and developed a close relationship with him then.“Once I got my Ohio State offer, he definitely was pushing me,” Andre said of Kaleb. “He was a big part of the process.”The ensuing season, their final year together in high school, Westerville South returned to the state championship. Same arena and even bigger crowd of 13,722. This time, the Wesson brothers aided Westerville South to the state title in a 57-55 win against Lima Senior. “The biggest thing we learned is that the lights can’t be too big,” Andre said. “Some of the lights got to us, and our senior year we had everyone back and won it.”Less than one month after scoring 14 points in the state championship win, Andre committed to Ohio State. On the court, the Wesson brothers complement each other well. Off the court, they couldn’t be more different.Kaleb is a 6-9 forward with a well-developed post game. He’s able to both score and pass out of the post efficiently, Westerville South head coach Ed Calo said. Andre, a 6-foot-6 wing, guarded all five positions in high school and now can guard four spots in college.“They are night and day. Sometimes it’s hard to believe they grew up in the same household,” Keith said. “Kaleb will talk to anybody, he wants to be on the go, very outgoing. Andre is the opposite, he’s very reserved. He doesn’t open up to just anybody.”Wednesday night, when the Wesson brothers take the court, Andre will see his parents in section 124. They’re a constant reminder of the most valuable lesson he said he’s learned at Ohio State.“You need other people,” Andre said. “You can’t do anything by yourself to be good or be successful.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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