After being shot on the road, Ohio State’s Andre Wesson is ready for more

All André Wesson wanted was a chance.

When the COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2020 NCAA Tournament, it brought Wesson’s collegiate career to a screeching halt and dealt a severe blow to his career aspirations. With foreign leagues mostly closed and opportunities significantly limited, Wesson had to play the waiting game.

During his four years at Ohio State, Wesson proved a vital part of the team’s success, but failed to release eye-catching numbers in the process.. The strength of his game lies in his ability to win, a quality that can be difficult to transmit to a foreign team that is not intimately familiar with past successes. In four seasons with the Buckeyes, Wesson averaged 5.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. As a senior, however, he averaged 9.2, 3.9 and 1.9, respectively, and finished fourth in the Big Ten shooting 42.2 percent (43 for 102) from 3.

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After a year away, Wesson spent the 2021-22 season playing for Finland’s Lapuan Korikobrat. In his first professional season, he averaged 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists as the only player to finish in the top three on the roster in every category.

An international profile has been established. More professional basketball awaits Wesson.

That happens. To finish.

“It was special,” Wesson said after playing in the Kingdom Summer League at Dominican University in Ohio on July 3. “Certainly every time you play the game again while it’s taken away from you, it’s fun. We haven’t had the best year, being a rookie in Finland and all, but I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Wesson’s team went 11-21 overall while playing at the top level of Finnish professional basketball, but the Ohio State product said it was a season he was on. could rely on to determine what would happen next.

“That’s all you work for growing up,” he said. “To be able to do that and have a pretty good year, I feel like I was able to take the opportunity and hopefully move on.”

Between Ohio State and Finland, Wesson found opportunities to keep busy. He won a championship in the Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship in April 2021, spent time playing for the Columbus Condors in the Basketball League, and even worked for his father’s construction company to make ends meet.

Otherwise, it was a matter of staying patient and believing the word would eventually get out.

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“People who know the game and watch us play know how good I am and how much I mean to a team, but some people who just look at the stats, it’s not that impressive,” he said. he said after the 3x3U tournament. “I understand, but hopefully once I get that start I can show that I can put more stats and can have them on my CV as well.”

The move to Finland was not without difficulties. Wesson said he played UMass Lowell product Christian Lutete, a forward who had 9 points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes in a 76-56 win at Ohio State on Nov. 10, 2020. Lutete was the only player Wesson said he knew while there — and he actually missed that game against the River Hawks through injury.

Wesson’s younger brother Kaleb spent the 2021-22 season playing in Israel and then Puerto Rico. Along with his brother in another country and his family in the US, Andre said he relies on apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp to keep in touch with loved ones.

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“At nine months of everyone else, you definitely miss them,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve really been away from home. The first two months were really tough, not really knowing anyone, different culture and everything. Once you get through the first two months and get to know the people, how to get to different places, it’s not that bad. I kind of enjoyed that towards the end.

For now, Wesson said he’s enjoying his return to Columbus and spending time with his family while figuring out where he’ll play next season.

“I’m just excited to see what’s next,” he said. “I have no idea at the moment. I’m still trying to figure it out, but hopefully something soon.

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@AdamJardy

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