Keith Wesson admits he wasn't the most talented or athletic member of the Ohio State men's basketball program when he played for the Buckeyes in the 1980s.

He prided himself, however, on having strong fundamentals.

Wesson passed along his knowledge about the finer points of the game to sons Andre and Kaleb when they were young, and it's clear they got the message.

The brothers helped lead Westerville South High School to the Division I state championship in 2016 and now both start in the frontcourt for the Buckeyes.

"From the time they were playing from fifth grade on in any sport, it was very important to (my wife, Stephanie, and I) that they learn the fundamentals of the game," Keith said. "It was to a point where we limited the teams they would play on. Those teams which didn't practice or didn't teach, we didn't allow them to be a part of those teams.

"It was so important they learn the fundamentals of the game. I was fortunate enough when I played to have great coaches who taught the game. My opportunities at Ohio State were because of being skilled, not because of being athletic. I was below average at best as an athlete, but I knew the fundamentals of the game."

For Andre and Kaleb, every second they're on the court for Ohio State is a reflection of their youth, when their father began stressing that having the proper skill set -- and knowing how to use it -- would be the key to their development.

"I'm glad that he did it because it set a foundation for us and it's something that we can lean on," Andre said. "He gets all the credit, putting that hard-working mentality into our heads early and the fundamental side of the game has definitely made me the player that I am."

Andre and Kaleb, along with their parents, returned to a familiar place Nov. 12 as they visited South. The brothers were warmly greeted by their former high school coach, Ed Calo, along with Wildcats assistant coaches and current players.

Andre and Kaleb both credit Calo for building on what their father taught them and helping them reach their potential as Division I college recruits. For Kaleb, that included learning valuable lessons early in his prep career.

"I was playing j.v. and I would ask (Calo) all the time what am I doing wrong," Kaleb said. "He said I thought I was entitled when I came in here. At first, I said I'm not an entitled person. I felt like I was working hard, trying to do my job, but he said I wasn't working hard enough."

The 6-foot-9 Kaleb began the process of turning fat into muscle and reshaping his body while refining his game. He's listed at 270 pounds, but is slimmer than in the past.

"They came here skilled, they came here fundamentally ready," Calo said. "They already had the luxury and the blessing of having a father that had great experiences and had been through it. He taught those young men well."

Kaleb was named Ohio Mr. Basketball as a senior in 2017, but the top high school highlight for the brothers came a year earlier when Andre was a senior. The pair helped the Wildcats win their first state title with a 57-55 victory over Lima Senior at Ohio State.

"That's something that will be with them for the rest of their lives," Keith said. "They enjoyed their teammates. Sometimes you can win and not enjoy all your teammates. They really enjoyed themselves. That senior year for Andre and all those guys was really special."

Now, the court where they won the state championship is their home court with the Buckeyes.

Andre, a 6-6 junior forward, had a scary moment there Nov. 11, injuring his back in the first half of a 107-61 win over Purdue Fort Wayne when he fell awkwardly to the floor on a dunk attempt. He returned to the game in the second half.

The Buckeyes were 4-0 before playing Samford on Nov. 20.

Kaleb averaged 10.2 points and 4.9 rebounds in 33 games, including 30 starts, as a freshman, helping Ohio State go 25-9 and earn an NCAA tournament berth.

"I don't know if they truly understood early on, but now they appreciate the fact that they learned those fundamentals," said Keith, who graduated from Ohio State in 1987. "Kaleb may not be the most athletic, but he is probably one of the most skilled bigs in the country. Andre is the same thing, (but) his thing is more defense."

Despite their strong start this season, Kaleb believes the Buckeyes are being underestimated and have the potential to prove any skeptics wrong. Ohio State lost several key players from last season, including Keita Bates-Diop, who earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors and now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I feel like people are underestimating us, thinking we're not that good," he said. "We have a lot of guys who play with a chip on their shoulder. That's what coach (Chris Holtmann) preaches every day."

Andre and Kaleb were introduced to sports at a young age and also played baseball, soccer and football before concentrating on basketball.

Andre was a standout quarterback at Walnut Springs Middle School and Kaleb, who attended Blendon Middle School, was a left tackle on the freshman football team at South.

"Andre was good at everything," Keith said. "He was a really good quarterback when he was younger and he was a really good baseball player. They were good soccer players."

While Keith was stressing fundamentals in sports, Stephanie focused on strong morals and remaining humble. The brothers consider those traits not only keys to their development but to their futures in basketball.

"Both of them have the ability to play professionally somewhere," Keith said. "If they continue to develop, they continue to work hard, they'll have that opportunity."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank