Listed at 6-9, Micah Potter is the biggest man left standing from last year’s Ohio State men’s basketball season. Now preparing for his sophomore year, he is the lone big man currently on campus after his two post counterparts departed for new destinations after a 17-15 season that didn’t include any postseason play.

Monday evening, Potter attended a student-produced awards event at Value City Arena alongside teammate Joey Lane. After walking a red carpet and posing with Lane for photos in front of a black backdrop, Potter told The Dispatch that his approach wouldn’t change whether Trevor Thompson returned for his senior season or not. One day later, Thompson signed with an agent and ended his collegiate career.

“Just keep working hard,” he said of Thompson’s situation. “(It) doesn’t really have any impact at all. I wish Trevor the best of luck. I know he’s working hard to try and develop his game. I know we’ve got Kaleb (Wesson) coming in and we’re trying to get some other guys coming in too, so it should be good.”

As it stands, the Buckeyes will have two big men next year: Potter and Wesson, a highly regarded center prospect from nearby Westerville South. Thompson left after leading the team in double-doubles and being named honorable mention all-Big Ten last season and lightly used backup David Bell transferred to Jacksonville to be with his pregnant girlfriend.

Potter took the season’s opening tip with Thompson on the bench and eventually gave way to the upperclassman after suffering an ankle injury. He finished the season averaging 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 33.3 percent (17 for 51) from three in 14.1 minutes per game. He started 12 games.

“(I’m working on) getting bigger, stronger, faster, working on my ball handling, defense, everything,” he said. “A little bit of everything.”

The hope is to help the Buckeyes rebound in a big way from a difficult season that saw them not selected for an at-large bid for the NIT. Potter is the first player to have the chance to comment publicly since the season abruptly ended four days before Selection Sunday with a shocking first-round Big Ten tournament loss to Rutgers.

It wasn’t what the Mentor, Ohio, native was expecting when he joined the program, which has now missed the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons.

“Coming here and expecting things to have a turnaround and that not happen, it’s a process,” he said. “It takes time. Guys are definitely working hard. We’ve been in the weight room every day working really, really hard in the gym and in the weight room. It’s a process so it’s going to take some time, but guys are definitely working hard.”

He described the Ohio State coaches as “positive” as they work their way through the offseason.

“They’re telling us to work hard and be in the gym as much as you can be,” he said. “They’re in there with us working hard.”

Potter made an early impression to his teammates with his willingness to be vocal during workouts and meetings immediately upon his arrival, separating himself from the typical freshman in the process. On a team with one senior, two fourth-year players and a handful of juniors, Potter didn’t force the issue of trying to upset the leadership balance as an underclassman.

That will likely change this season with a year of experience under his belt and an expanded role likely in the plans. He even seemed to get a head start when, during the closing minutes of the season-ending loss to the Scarlet Knights, he pointed to Marc Loving and pounded his chest, seemingly indicating that the forlorn senior needed to play with more heart.

“I’m going to do my best to be in a leadership role that doesn’t push people away,” Potter said. “I’ll do my best to fulfill the role that comes with the territory.”