At 6-foot-9, 236 pounds, Ohio State then-freshman center Micah Potter was an ideal size for a stretch power forward given his ability to shoot from the 3-point line. Last year, because of depth and his development, he didn’t get that chance and was confined to center.
The first thing Potter had to do this offseason was condition to play his preferred position.
“There were a couple games (last season) I would feel amazing and a couple games I would feel awful and get tired super quick,” Potter said. “I haven’t had that problem in workouts at all and that’s probably because I’ve been eating a lot better.”
The Mentor, Ohio, native wasn’t a highly recruited player in high school (No. 19 Ohio player in the 2016 class, according to 247Sports), so he surprised nearly everyone last year when he trotted out with the starting five in his very first game as a freshman over incumbent starter Trevor Thompson.
However, he started just 12 games, struggled with foul trouble at times and averaged less than 15 minutes per game. This offseason, the recent hire of team nutritionist Nicole Krauter — the first to hold this position for the program — is helping him change into the type of player he wants to be, one who can stretch the floor on offense and be a sound defender.
“Coach (Chris) Holtmann is a defensive minded coach. That’s pretty much all we worked on,” Potter said. “Staying in a stance, they emphasize that so much.
“Offensively, he told us, ‘You’re going to like the freedom you get. I’m not going to restrict you to doing one thing at a time. I’m going to let you play your game but as long as you’re playing defense, and you’re playing hard.’”
Fifty-one of Potter’s 99 shots came from beyond the 3-point line last season and he converted 17 of those shots. He averaged 3.1 rebounds per game and played in 30 games.
Ohio State has just 10 players on his roster currently, including former walk-on junior guard Joey Lane. Potter and freshman Kaleb Wesson are the only two centers on the team. Therefore, the health of the team will be paramount for any success the team hopes to have in 2017-18.
Potter said that new strength and conditioning coach Quadrian Banks handed the entire team a goal sheet. Potter wrote that he wanted to lower his recovery time and stay in games longer, a goal that was difficult with Potter last year who said he cramped often in games.
Now, Potter said he understands how to hydrate and has gained nine pounds of muscle with a body fat percentage between 8 and 9 percent.
Potter might feel well enough to play anywhere on the court, but the roster will confine him to the competing with Wesson for the center spot for now. But if an opportunity arose in a game where Ohio State needed more size without yielding scoring, Potter might be able working to fill that void with his new regimen.
He identified each aspect of his game as needing improvement, but mentioned one more than the rest.
“Conditioning is probably a big thing,” he said. “That can help offensively with using your legs in a jump shot. That could be defensively, staying in a stance. That’s pretty much everything, so making sure I’m in good enough shape to be tired but recover quicker with little breaks we get throughout the game.”