Former Ohio State big man Micah Potter made his return to Value City Arena, this time as a member of the Wisconsin men’s basketball team.
Potter left the Buckeyes just days before the genesis of the 2018-19 season, then finished the semester and transferred to Wisconsin.
The journey back to the court was a frustrating one for Potter, who had multiple appeals for immediate eligibility denied by the NCAA despite both Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith and head coach Chris Holtmann writing letters in support of his immediate eligibility.
Since he was not eligible until the end of the fall semester, Potter’s first game against his former team marked only his fourth game in a Badger uniform.
Entering the game, Potter declined interview requests made by reporters through a team spokesman. After the game, he was not one of the three players made available for reporters while Holtmann was simultaneously conducting his press conference.
Following the game, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard expressed his support of Potter and how frustrating the transfer and appeal process had been.
“He’s one of the most mature, respectful people I’ve ever been around,” Gard said of Potter. “Going back through the whole waiver application process, as I’ve said many times that in all the meetings that we had and conference calls that we had, delivering bad news to him whether I had to do it or our compliance director had to do it or our assistant AD that they had rejected waiver after waiver after waiver after waiver, that the most mature adult in the room in all of that was Micah Potter.
“He was obviously frustrated because of it, because there were 10-12 games that he can’t get back in his life. Chris and Gene here did a very good job of supporting it and trying to help, but unfortunately the NCAA doesn’t always view things through a common-sense lens. Micah’s the one at the end of the day who has to pay a price for it.”
The Mentor, Ohio, native finished with four points, three rebounds, two fouls and two turnovers in 10:45. The Badgers improved to 4-0 in games he plays.
“I thought he handled today fine,” Gard said. “I talked to him before he played two weeks ago to relax, you’re not going to get 600-some days back in one possession. Same thing here tonight. He has a lot of respect for Ohio State. His brother’s here on the football team. I thought he handled today much like he’s handled the last (few years) — I knew him when I recruited him, before he committed here with Thad (Matta). He’s a phenomenal person, and has been a great addition to our program.”
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