Ohio State men's basketball: Days before season, Micah Potter says he's transferring
Ohio State junior center Micah Potter has announced his decision to transfer from the basketball program.
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Potter will have to sit out the upcoming season and then have a year and a half of eligibility remaining at a new school because he will finish the semester at OSU. The Buckeyes begin the 2018-19 season Wednesday at Cincinnati.
Potter's family said in a statement: "We are thankful to Coach Matta, Gene Smith, and the University for giving Micah a chance to live his dream. We will forever be grateful. We appreciate Coach Holtman and his staff for their training and hard work in helping the team get to the dance last year. We wish all our friends and families in basketball Buckeye Nation all the best."
Coach Chris Holtmann said in a statement from Ohio State: “We appreciate Micah’s contributions to our program and we wish him the very best moving forward.”
Ticketed to serve as the primary backup for center Kaleb Wesson this season, Potter was sharp in Thursday’s exhibition win against UNC Pembroke.
In 10 minutes off the bench, Potter had a team-high 13 rebounds and made all four of his field goals while being fouled, converting three into three-point plays. He also added six rebounds, one block and two turnovers while playing the fewest minutes of any recruited scholarship player on the roster.
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When the Buckeyes opened the 2016-17 season at Navy, Potter became the first true freshman to start at center since Jared Sullinger in 2010. He suffered a freak ankle injury when he went up for the opening tip against Youngstown State on Dec. 20 and landed on the foot of the referee who hadn’t moved, and he would miss two games as a result. When he returned, Trevor Thompson had moved into the starting spot and did not relinquish it. Potter finished the season averaging 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 30 appearances including 12 starts.
Thompson left the program after the season, and Potter again opened the season as a starter before suffering a high ankle sprain in the fourth game of the season that would linger well into Big Ten play. In his absence, freshman Kaleb Wesson laid claim to the starting role and Potter’s minutes dwindled as the season progressed and the Buckeyes began to use Keita Bates-Diop at center as well.
Asked at the start of preseason camp what he would need to do to stay on the court longer, Potter said, “Stay healthy. That’s a big thing. Really, that’s kind of what happened last year. I had the ankle injury and then just never really got back in the flow of things. Stay healthy and then just play hard. Do the right thing.”
In 29 games including four starts, Potter averaged 4.1 points and 2.4 points as a sophomore.
“It’s hard for kids when they don’t play a whole lot or don’t play as much,” Holtmann said at Big Ten media day Oct. 11. “It’s really hard, and they’ve got to manage it the best they can. We’re always forced to make a decision that we feel is in the best interests of the team. But he’s really grown and matured and I’m excited about his junior season, for sure. He’s got to continue to get more physical and play with more aggressiveness and physicality on both ends. I’m hoping that people will see that (from him).”
He ends his Ohio State career having played in 59 games with 16 starts and averaged 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 46.0 percent (87 for 189) from the floor and 32.4 percent (23 for 71) from three.
A native of Mentor who played his senior season at Montverde (Florida) Academy, Potter was a three-star recruit, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
The Buckeyes have three verbal commitments for next season, which would have the roster at maximum capacity, but now will have one more available spot for the 2019-20 season. His absence will likely mean increased minutes for freshman Jaedon LeDee, a four-star recruit from Houston, Texas, who has been described as being raw despite physically impressive.
Potter’s younger brother, Noah, has committed to the football program and will be a freshman next season. Noah tweeted Monday afternoon that he was still "1000% committed" to the Buckeyes.