Ohio State has long been Micah Potter’s dream school. Now at some point in his career, the freshman hopes to play his dream position for the Buckeyes.
As a part-time starter and everyday contributor, Potter has averaged 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds while primarily splitting time at center with Trevor Thompson. As his career progresses, Potter is hoping for a possibility coach Thad Matta mentioned on Monday’s call-in show and reiterated Wednesday afternoon: the chance to play power forward, where he’s a more-natural fit.
“I think that anyone would understand that I’m not a true center,” Potter said Wednesday. “That’s not my game. I’m more of a face-up guy. We have talked about that going forward. Obviously the coaches feel like the best position for me to be put in is at the 5 right now. My goal is always to be a 4.
“Obviously certain things are required to become a 4 but I feel like I’m 100 percent capable of fulfilling what needs to be done.”
Listed at 6-9, 240 pounds, Potter has the skills of a power forward. He’s shot 35.7 percent (15 for 42) from three-point range this season and 44.8 percent (39 for 87) from the floor overall, but he’s seen no playing time alongside the 7-0, 250-pound Thompson.
While it’s not his preferred role, Potter has been accepting of it.
“You’ve got to do what the coaches tell you to do,” he said. “You have to understand that the coaches have a plan in mind and you have to buy into that plan. Obviously it can be frustrating at times, being put in situations that I’m not 100 percent comfortable, but that comes with growing as a basketball player. You have to be put in situations where you’re not comfortable in order to get better.”
Potter has struggled with the defensive end of the game, most notably on defending pick-and-roll situations. To move from the paint closer to the perimeter, Potter needs to improve on his footwork and become a better overall defender.
He’s been working on both areas, and both Potter and Matta said they’ve seen improvement.
“That is something that I have struggled with in the past,” Potter said of the pick-and-roll. “I think it’s definitely something I’ve gotten better with. That’s something coach Matta has talked about where even if you call something out, you call a position for the guard to go, that’s not always going to happen. You’ve got to be able to react and make the right play.”
For the season, Potter has an individual plus-minus rating of minus-49 and is minus-36 in Big Ten play but he is plus-three in the last five games.
There’s a chance that Potter could see some time alongside Thompson in tonight’s game.
“Wisconsin could lend itself to that in terms of how the matchups are and that sort of thing,” Matta said. “That’s something that we’ve looked at and we’ve practiced it.”