While the official start date of the 2020-2021 college basketball season is still up for discussion, we here at Bucky’s 5th Quarter are champing at the bit for hoops to start and have decided to get our returning player profile series going again. Over the next two weeks we will profile all of the returning players and then the week after that we will profile all of the incoming freshmen on the team.
The next player up for the defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin Badgers is Micah Potter.
Year: redshirt senior
Hometown: Mentor, Ohio (Montverde Academy)
Recruiting info: class of 2016; 3-star center by 247 Composite (No. 243 nationally, No. 28 C, No. 16 in Ohio) committed to Ohio State; offers from Akron, Buffalo, Clemson and Davidson; transferred to Wisconsin for the 2018-19 season and redshirted
2019-20 statistics: 21 games played (three starts), 76-of-144 (23-of-51 from three), 212 points (10.1 ppg), 131 rebounds (6.2 rpg), eight assists (0.4 apg), eight steals, 21 blocks, 33 turnovers
Career statistics (Wisconsin only): 21 games played (three starts), 76-of-144 (23-of-51 from three), 212 points (10.1 ppg), 131 rebounds (6.2 rpg), eight assists (0.4 apg), eight steals, 21 blocks, 33 turnovers
Player overview: Potter finished his final season of high school at Montverde Academy, the school that produced NBA stars Ben Simmons and D’Angelo Russell, after transferring from Mentor High School. In his final season at Mentor HS, Potter was named first team All-State and All-Conference, averaging 20.2 points and 9.1 rebounds.
With the Buckeyes, Potter played 59 games (16 starts) and was the first true freshman to start a season opener since Jared Sullinger in 2010.
Following a decreased roll in the Buckeye rotation, Potter decided to transfer to Wisconsin prior to the 2018-19 season. Once on campus in Madison, Potter began practicing with the Badgers in December.
Wisconsin then attempted to get Potter eligible to begin the 2019-20 season, but this proved to be an arduous task. NCAA rules require students to spend a full year at a school before becoming eligible to play. Since Potter transferred following the first semester the NCAA ruled he would need to wait until the end of the first semester of the 2019-20 season to play. The rule is in place so that student-athletes can become full acclimated and comfortable in their new surroundings, before they begin playing.
However, what made Potter’s case more unique is the fact that Potter did not play for Ohio State during the first semester of 2018-19, because he had left the team, in order to transfer. Potter also seemed to thrive at Wisconsin, posting a 3.3 GPA in his first semester on campus.
Potter even got letters of support from OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith and head coach Chris Holtmann. However, the NCAA still denied his appeal even though they had granted other players around the NCAA immediate eligibility following their transfers to new schools.
Finally, 644 days after he last played with the Buckeyes, Potter was able to suit up for Wisconsin in its 83-64 win over UW-Milwaukee in December 2019. Potter quickly made up for lost time, recording a stat line of 12 points, five rebounds and a block in 13 minutes off the bench.
At the time of Potter’s activation, Wisconsin was 5-5 (1-1 B1G) on the season, having lost four of their last five games. Potter proved to be what Wisconsin was missing, as the Badgers went 16-5 (13-5 B1G) with him in the lineup, on their way to a B1G conference title.
Potter primarily served as a bench player in his 21 games, but did make three starts. In his time in cardinal and white, he proved to be a force inside for Wisconsin, recording 6.2 rebounds and one block per game, in 17.5 minutes per game.
Potter was also a force in the paint offensively...
Micah Potter went with the spin and finished with the dunk. @BadgerMBB pic.twitter.com/8LAkd2Pita— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) February 28, 2020
Potter was also able to make a difference from the perimeter. After shooting a combined 23-of-71 (.324) at Ohio State from 3-point-range, Potter was 23-of-51 (.451) in his first season with Wisconsin.
Start your week with a look back at the day Micah Potter showed everyone he's a legit 3-point threat.@BigJam_23 | @BadgerMBB pic.twitter.com/4nmcPTOX1l— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) August 31, 2020
If Wisconsin was able to do what it did with Potter for a portion of the season, imagine what it can do with Potter on the floor every night.
Role on 2020-21 team: Potter will likely find himself in the starting line up in 2020-21, given the impact he had last season. He and Nate Reuvers will form a formidable front court for Wisconsin, as both of them can score inside and out, putting a lot of pressure on opposing teams.