Kaleb Wesson, C.J. Walker and Alonzo Gaffney represented Ohio State on the final list of early entries for the 2020 NBA Draft as the three Buckeyes from last year’s team.
The Buckeye trio represents just three of the 205 players who entered draft consideration early but can remove their names and retain their eligibility up to 10 days before the NBA draft.
Wesson and Gaffney are not expected to return to Columbus, but Walker is likely to return as a fifth-year senior leader for the 2020-21 Buckeyes.
Wesson led the team with 14.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game as a junior in 2019-20. The big man from Westerville South has once again retained his eligibility while going through the draft process like he did last year, but he is not expected to return to Ohio State. The program has all of its scholarships filled for the upcoming season.
“I believe he’s really committed to this process as we expected he would be and we fully support that,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. “Kaleb had a tremendous year for us as did his brother (Andre Wesson). Those two guys will be significant losses for us.”
Wesson is projected to be taken with the No. 55 overall pick, which would be the sixth-last pick in the draft, in an April 29 mock draft by The Athletic.
Walker said he is going through the process in order to receive feedback on what he can improve to become an NBA prospect, like Wesson did last year, in a Zoom call with AAU program Mid-Ohio Pumas last week.
“I told them I wanted to declare to take this opportunity just to see where I’m at within the NBA draft and how I can see myself getting to the NBA,” Walker said. “So far it’s basically getting feedback from GMs, scouts, getting feedback from Coach [Chris] Holtmann and calls for myself. Different agents, talking to them and seeing how the process is going. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there is going to be much individual workouts for teams so it’s mainly the type of feedback from these coaches.
“I’m taking all the info they’re giving me, sizing myself up to see where I fit. Whether I stay in the draft or whether I come back, just to be able to see where I’m at and what I need to do this year to next year try to get to the NBA.”
Holtmann addressed Walker’s decision during an April 14 teleconference, cautioning fans not to “overreact.”
“C.J. Walker is also was wanting to go through the the process of gathering information. But I don’t want anybody to overreact. He fully expects and plans to come back and lead our team.
“But I think that’s a right that every player has, and we support him in that to just kind of gather information. C.J. is doing a little bit of what Kaleb did last year in terms of gathering information.”
Walker averaged 8.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 2019-20, along with team highs of 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per contest.
Gaffney was a freshman in 2019-20 and was not with the team for the final four games of the season for undisclosed reasons. The Cleveland, Ohio, native was initially expected to transfer, but is more likely to go pro instead.
Gaffney averaged 1.8 points and 1.4 boards per game in 17 contests for the 2019-20 Buckeyes.
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