Ohio State will open its 2018-19 men's basketball season by playing its first game at Cincinnati in 98 years. The Buckeyes and Bearcats will meet at the newly renovated Fifth Third Arena on Nov. 7, marking only the 11th time the in-state programs have met and the first time they’ve played each other within state lines since 1921. In preparation for the game, The Dispatch is counting down the final 14 days with power rankings for each of the members of the Ohio State roster. The series continues with the sixth player in our rankings.
No. 9: Micah Potter
Height/weight: 6 feet 9 / 240 pounds
Jersey number: 0
Background: A native of Mentor, Potter spent his first three seasons of high school basketball there before transferring to Montverde (Florida) Academy for his senior season. Before he transferred, Potter committed to the Buckeyes in April of his junior year after averaging 20.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and being named first-team all-state. As a senior in Florida, Potter was named team MVP and averaged 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while playing against stiffer competition. 247Sports.com ranked Potter as the No. 16 recruit in Ohio, the No. 28 center in the nation and the overall No. 243 national recruit in its composite rankings for the class of 2015. He joined the Buckeyes and became the first freshman to start the season opener at center since Jared Sullinger in 2010.
2017-18 stats: As a sophomore, Potter began the season as a starter and finished with an average of 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game. Potter's high ankle sprain suffered in the fourth game of the season allowed Kaleb Wesson to grab the starting center spot, and when Potter finally got past the lingering symptoms of the injury he was reduced to a role player for the majority of the year. Once healthy, Potter’s biggest performance came in a road game against Northwestern when he scored a team-high 13 points to help the Buckeyes grind out a win.
Career stats: In 59 appearances including 16 starts, Potter has averaged 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per game while missing multiple games both seasons with injuries. Potter was injured on an opening tip-off as a freshman when he landed on the foot of an official and then suffered the ankle injury as a sophomore while diving for a loose ball one game removed from having scored a career-high 17 points. He is a career 32.4 percent three-point shooter (23 for 71).
Need to know: Raised in an athletic family, Potter is the second of three boys to play Division I college sports. His older brother, Caleb, played baseball at West Virginia before transferring to Southern New Hampshire. His younger brother, Noah, will play football for Ohio State next year as a freshman. Plus, his sister, the youngest of the four, has received recruiting interest to play Division I soccer. Potter has joked that teammates have compared him to Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. The son of a pastor, Potter has Bible verse Matthew 6:33 in his Twitter profile, which reads, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
2017-18 recap: Four games into the season, Potter was a player on the rise until he suffered the ankle injury during the second half of a win against Northeastern. The game was a tune-up for the PK80 Invitational, and Potter was able to play only 10 total minutes in the three games in Portland, Oregon, and clearly wasn’t himself. The Buckeyes eventually shut him down for a few weeks, and during a stretch of eight games he totaled 14 minutes of playing time while sitting out four games. Once healthy, Potter struggled to find a role, and foul trouble and a lack of physicality helped keep him off the court. He was a healthy, unused player in a late-season loss at Michigan and did not play more than nine minutes in any of the remaining five games of the season.
2018-19 outlook: Potter has the tools to be an important part of the rotation for the Buckeyes, but he needs to prove that he can stay out of foul trouble and remain engaged with his teammates for longer stretches. Blessed with an outgoing personality, he can assume a leadership role on a team lacking experience if he increases his production. Potter has said he spent much of his summer doing yoga in addition to strength training in order to better allow himself to stay in a defensive stance and help hold up against physical post players in the Big Ten. A big man with a smooth shooting stroke, Potter could be a dangerous weapon in pick-and-roll situations if he improves at defending them at the other end. The bottom line is, if Potter can stay out of foul trouble, improve his ability to bang in the post and continue to embrace his teammates, there are minutes to be had this season and an opportunity to put up impactful numbers.
Previous power rankings
No. 10: Jaedon LeDee
No. 11: Justin Ahrens
No. 12: Joey Lane
No. 13: Danny Hummer
No. 14: CJ Walker