Ohio State looks to be at full strength for its biggest test of the young basketball season. After Micah Potter suffered what was termed a sprained ankle in Sunday’s home win against Northeastern, Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said the sophomore center is expected to be in the lineup and likely start the next time the Buckeyes take the court.
That would be Thursday night in Portland, where Ohio State will face last year’s national runner-up Gonzaga as part of the PK80 Invitational.
“We think he will be available to play,” Holtmann said Tuesday. “He’s going to be somewhat limited in practice leading up to it, but we anticipate that he should be good to go for Thursday night.”
Potter’s injury came late in the second half of a 25-point win against the Huskies. He limped to the team bench and, after being checked out by the training staff, walked to the locker room under his own power but did not return.
In starting all four games this season, Potter has more than doubled his scoring average from his freshman season from 4.1 points per game to 8.8. He scored a career-high 17 points against Texas Southern with freshman center Kaleb Wesson serving a one-game suspension but had only two points in 13 minutes against Northeastern. Potter averages 4.3 rebounds per game and is shooting 81.8 percent (9 for 11) from the free-throw line.
Wesson, on the other hand, responded with 12 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes against Northeastern. He is averaging 11.3 points (third on the team) and 4.7 rebounds per game.
He has come off the bench in three appearances this year, but although Holtmann said he feels Wesson is ready to assume a starting role he is unlikely to overtake Potter just yet.
“I think Kaleb’s ready,” Holtmann said. “I think right now, bringing him off the bench is good for him because it gives him a feel for the game and keeps him out of picking up an early foul as well.”
Holtmann credited Potter, a natural power forward, for doing more back-to-the-basket scoring than a season ago but said he still wants to see a more complete game from him.
“Is he taking advantage of opportunities that are there offensively?” Holtmann said. “Is he being physical on the interior? He is making the right plays and reads defensively? Is he being a good screener? Those are the expectations for him, and he can continue to improve in those areas.”