Q&A With Micah Potter: Challenging 2021 Season, Unique Basketball Journey, What He Brings To NBA Team

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It hasn’t been an easy journey, but Micah Potter is about to reach his destination. After spending multiple years at Ohio State and Wisconsin, the versatile forward is ready to show that he has what it takes to play in the NBA.

Potter began his career with the Buckeyes, averaging 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game during a two-year span. College basketball fans didn’t get to see him reach his full potential until he joined the Badgers. In two seasons at Wisconsin, he averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest.

All the momentum that Potter built in his final season at Wisconsin carried over to his pre-draft workouts, as the 6-foot-10 forward put together an impressive showing at the Tampa Bay Pro Combine. Not only did he show scouts that he can get physical in the post, he can step back and knock down shots from the perimeter.

With the NBA Draft a little over a month away, we sat down with Micah Potter to discuss how challenging this past season was for student-athletes, why now was the right time for him to go pro and much more.

The Spun: The pandemic made things tough this past season, but the Badgers finished on a strong note. What’d you make of your final season at Wisconsin?

Micah Potter: What you said is true. The amount of struggles that went along with playing a college basketball season during a pandemic is crazy – not being able to see your family and having to get tested every day, which we were fortunate enough to get tested every day. The isolation that it created was tough though, so if you had a bad day shooting, all you could do was think about it. You couldn’t go out and get your mental release from things. It was nice to have fans in the stands for the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament though, I will say that. It made the game a lot more fun, not only for the players, but for the coaches and fans as well. Plenty of things were tough this season, but there were also some pros. We got really close because when things weren’t going well we had no choice but to lean on each other. Obviously this season didn’t go exactly as we wanted it to, but I’m thankful we got to play. 

The Spun: You said Wisconsin was your ‘true dream school.’ Why was that? 

MP: Honestly, I would say it’s the people, and that’s nothing against Ohio State – I had great relationships with everyone there too. But the relationships I was able to make with my teammates and coaches at Wisconsin were so genuine. Brad Davison and Joe Hedstrom are going to be in my wedding this month. They were my roommates for two years and I got so close to them that I wanted them to be a part of my wedding. I grew up an Ohio State fan, so I thought Ohio State was my dream school. But the opportunity Wisconsin gave me to play as myself and the relationships there are why I said it’s my dream school.

The Spun: What was your favorite moment at Wisconsin?

MP: It has to beating Indiana at Indiana for a share of the Big Ten title. It stinks that COVID-19 hit because we were playing so well before the tournament started. Nonetheless though, that was a great moment. We got to finish the season with a win and championship. That season was tough due to the Coach Moore tragedy that summer, my eligibility issue with the NCAA, our strength coach resigning and one of our starters leaving. So a lot happened, but we went on a run toward the end of the 2019-20 season and were the top-ranked seed. All of that was awesome. Even the Indiana game itself, we were down a good amount but made a run late in the game. That’s by far the best memory I’ll have. 

The Spun: Your father played such an integral role in your shooting touch. Do you ever think about the workouts you had when your shooting in the gym now?

MP: Subconsciously, yes because my father is the one who started all of it. So all the routines I had growing up were things he started with me. It might not cross my mind during my routine, but every time I shoot the ball he’s a part of me. I’m super thankful for him. That’s definitely one of many things he helped me with.

The Spun: You performed well at the Tampa Bay Pro Combine. What was that experience like?

MP: It was good and for them to put on an event like that in such short notice is impressive. Moving forward, I think that’ll be one of the bigger events in the country because of the resources they have and the draw it had for players this year. I think it’ll make strides each year. But I’m definitely happy with my performance there. Are there things I wish I would’ve done better? Yes, but it was only four games and you get a limited amount of playing time. There’s always things you want to improve on and that’s how it’ll always be, but that’s part of what I’m doing during the pre-draft process. Overall, I’m proud of the way I played but I know I can still improve. 

The Spun: What are some areas of your game you’re trying to improve?

MP: The thing I’ve improved on the most are my confidence and being able to expand my game from a ball-handling standpoint. That’s something I’ve worked on consistently since I declared for the draft. I want to create space and get my shot off. There are longer players in the NBA than there is in college. I need to make sure I can come off different actions and knock down shots. I’m also increasing my mobility. I feel like I’m in great shape and continue to get better in that department. I have over a month left to continue getting in the greatest shape of my life. That’ll actually help my jump shot. If you get tired, your jump shot is going to be less efficient. 

The Spun: Which NBA players do you like to study?

MP: For my personal game, I grew up in the Cleveland area, so Kevin Love is a guy who I feel like I can mirror my game after. He can set screens, knock down three-pointers, rebound the ball and play in the post. A guy I’m watching a lot more recently is Nikola Jokic. His basketball IQ is right at the top with the rest of the people in the league, which is evident because he just won MVP. I like to see the reads he makes and how he opens up great opportunities for his teammates. It’s similar to what LeBron does, but seeing Jokic make certain moves and shots from his size is impressive. Dirk Nowitzki is another player I love studying. If I had to just pick someone I like watching without worrying about comparisons, it has to be Luka Doncic. It’s unbelievable how elite he is at such a young age.

The Spun: What would getting drafted mean to you?

MP: Man, I don’t know if I can really give you an answer for that. This has been a dream of mine since before I can remember. Growing up, my two favorite sports were baseball and basketball. As I grew up and got taller, basketball became my favorite. It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NBA. The path that I’ve taken to get to this point is a bit different from others – I transferred and was in college for five years. If I were to hear my name on July 29, I’d be one emotional guy because I know how hard I’ve worked and how hard I’ll continue to work.

The Spun: What is an NBA team getting in Micah Potter?

MP: A guy who plays the game the right way, works extremely hard, great teammate, vocal, can shoot the ball, plays with a great motor and loves to get his teammates open. I love to set good screens for guards. I just want to do whatever I can to win. I will play whatever role I need to in order to help my team win games. 

 

Wisconsin fans will find out where Potter’s NBA career will begin later this year.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.

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