‘I am a different player than what I was at Wisconsin’ | #schoolshooting


For most prospects, navigating through the pre-draft process can be a daunting challenge. From interviews to a grueling workout schedule, the weeks leading up to the draft can be quite stressful for players. Now, throw your own wedding into the mix.

Such is the life for former Wisconsin forward Micah Potter.

The 6-foot-10 product has been preparing for the NBA draft in Atlanta, going through multiple workouts six days a week while also finalizing his own wedding plans set to take place on Friday. Surprisingly, though, Potter is quite calm on the week of his wedding.

In the midst of the wedding planning, Potter recently took part in the Tampa Bay Pro Combine, an upstart pre-draft scouting event held in Wesley Chapel, Florida.

Among roughly 40 other draft hopefuls, Potter emerged as perhaps the top performer after averaging 18 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in four scrimmage games. He finished off his stay with 30 points in his final game and was tied for second in scoring among all players.

Potter is hoping to carry that momentum from the TBPC into his future workouts and interviews with NBA teams. His game has improved drastically since the conclusion of last season and is something he is eager to showcase.

He recently sat down with Rookie Wire to discuss the pre-draft process, his improvement on the court, his nerves on the week of his wedding and much more.

Please note this interview was minorly edited in its transcript for clarity

MP: It’s pretty much three workouts a day, six days a week. This last weekend I was at the Tampa Bay Pro Combine and I’m getting married on Friday and, obviously, you have NBA workouts coming up so the weeks are going to change up a little bit. Without anything crazy going on, I’m doing three workouts a day, six days a week. It’s tiring, but it’s part of the process. You want to make sure you’re in the best shape of your life and staying on top of your game. Obviously, now is the time to show off for the NBA so that’s why you work so hard.

MP: I’m training in Atlanta at The Skill Factory. (One of my agents) Austin (Walton) is based here so he brings his guys down here. I’ve been training down here with Bones Hyland. He is another guy in our agency and played at VCU. He is a killer, to say the least. I’ve been down here and this is the beginning of Week 8 for me. I think I got here at the end of April and I’ll be here until the end of July working out. Obviously, as NBA workouts and all that kinda stuff happen, I’ll be traveling around.

MP: It’s been a lot of fun. Some other guys have been working out with us and they push me. They push me to be better. I think everyone has a good idea of who Bones Hyland is but they really push me and we push each other. It has been a lot of fun. We do a lot of competitive stuff with different drills we do, specifically with shooting. We’ll do some 1-on-1 stuff, 2-on-2 and 5-on-5. It has been a lot of fun getting to know these guys and hearing about their backgrounds by working out with them every single day. We’ll ultimately make each other better as basketball players because that is what you want to be. You want to make sure you’re getting as good as you possibly can be to show yourself off for NBA teams.

MP: To be blatantly honest with you, I am a completely different player than what I was at Wisconsin. Obviously, the style of play in the NBA is completely different than what I would have played at Wisconsin. In turning myself into an NBA player, it has been life-changing. The way that my game has improved is giving me a chance to change my life and my family’s life. Just to be able to get out and learn different moves on certain skills I’m going to use at the next level. Just being able to show off some things that I’ll be able to show for all of these NBA teams that they didn’t get to see when I was in college.

Being in great shape, being super mobile and, obviously, people know I can shoot the ball, but even just expanding on that, even more, is something I’ve been able to hone in on since I’ve been here. It has been a lot of fun to see the progress I’ve made in the short time I’ve been here. I really started to see that after two weeks. It was like, ‘Wow! I can do this now.’ That comes with the work. This is the most I’ve worked in my entire life. I’m in the best shape of my life and it’s still in progress.

MP: I’m a mobile big, who has a high motor, can play inside and out and score at all three levels. I can post up. I’d say I set great screens, getting other people open whether it’d be ball screens or off-ball situations. Being able to pop or roll or make the right play; that’s something I want to do. I’m someone who plays super hard on both ends of the floor, rebounds the ball. Honestly, some of that stuff, people probably didn’t see at Wisconsin because we were a slower-paced team.

MP: I’d say so. When I say that, though, I don’t mean to bash Wisconsin. I’m super thankful to them and they gave me the opportunity to play at the college level. Obviously, I started at Ohio State and I made the decision to transfer after the coaching change that happened so I’m super thankful to Wisconsin. We had a lot of success there. We won the Big Ten before COVID happened and that was a lot of fun. I have a lot of great memories there but it is something I like to do. I like to run and get up and down. I want to make sure I’m in the best shape possible so I can just keep going and have that high motor to crash the glass and make sure I can keep up with everyone running and not get tired.

MP: I grew up in the Cleveland area so LeBron was the guy. I also watched Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki and guys like that, who I kinda modeled my game after. Kevin Love more specifically because he played for the Cavs. Growing up, we kinda had similar body types. I leaned out a lot since I was in high school so I kinda had a similar game to him and also Dirk with how he could shoot the ball. Even guys like Kevin Garnett, he had one of the best motors there was. His build is a little bit different than mine and his game is a little bit different than mine but his ability to shoot the ball in the midrange. He has that super high motor and killer mentality. I’d say those three guys are the guys I modeled my game after or tried to at least.

MP: In any pre-draft combine or workout, you want to be able to show off yourself. You want to show off how good you are as a basketball player, what your strengths are and how you have improved on your weaknesses. My biggest thing for the Tampa Bay Pro Combine was to go in and play my butt off and be able to show off the skills I’ve developed. I was the second-leading scorer in the tournament. In my personal opinion, I feel like I was one of the best bigs on the floor in the entire combine. I tested really well in the combine testing, which was speed drills, lane agility drills, shuttle drills, vertical jumps and all of that stuff. I was really happy about that.

MP: First of all, it was just good to see them. D’Mitrik (Trice) and Nate (Reuvers) are really good friends, they always will be. I mentioned my wedding, so Nate will be at my wedding. D’Mitrik was invited but with his schedule, and having to move to Los Angeles, he can’t make it and I completely understand. Those guys are going to be good friends for life.

They played well. I know D’Mitrik had a great weekend so I was really happy for him. It was fun to play against him. We had gone against each other in practice so it was fun and competitive, but it was also cool to see how they would play in an NBA style. As far as I know, they both had good weekends. It was good to see them. We got dinner a couple of times so that was cool.

MP: It hasn’t been too bad. Playing on the stage that I’ve played on the last four years, you feel like you get used it to. We’ll see when it comes down to it on the wedding day. I’m sure there will be some butterflies. I remember the day we got engaged, I wasn’t nervous all day until we went out to dinner right before we got engaged. I started getting a few butterflies but in the moment I was cool. She is the love of my life. She is perfect for me. I think she is perfect in every single way.

It is one of those things where if you have complete confidence in that, and knowing that God has brought you two together, there is no reason to be nervous. I’d say I’m more excited than nervous. I haven’t seen her in a while so our relationship, being in our own two sports and going to different schools, and even with COVID, we’ve been long-distance a lot. It’s going to be super exciting just to see each other and then she is going to end up moving down here with me to Atlanta.

MP: Originally, yes, and it’s still going to be. I found out a couple of weeks ago I’m going to have a workout with the Golden State Warriors that Monday. I’m going to have to fly out from Milwaukee to San Francisco on Sunday. So I get married on Friday, then I’ll have to fly out from Milwaukee on Sunday out to San Francisco. I’ll have to work out on my wedding day the morning of. I’ll have to work out Saturday, as well.

But that’s part of the process of this. They say that your pre-draft summer is the busiest of your life and I’m adding a wedding to it. She understands, though. She was an athlete at Loyola-Chicago so she understands the demand this kind of stuff takes. She is super supportive and that makes me even more comfortable and confident in the work I’m putting in because I know that she is going to support me no matter what.

MP: Absolutely. I am getting married so I have to provide for my wife. She is fully capable of doing her own thing. If we were not getting married, she’d be able to be a superstar in her career and that is more of a token to her than it is to me. But I have got to help provide for my family and our future kids, if God allows us to have kids.

This has even been a dream of mine since before I can even remember. I grew up with my dad talking about the game of basketball and playing professionally so that is something I’ve had a goal of doing since I was young. To be able to achieve that dream and have a chance to provide for my family and, potentially, generational wealth, is something that is a huge driving force for me.

MP: That I am an NBA quality player. I’m a guy that fits at the NBA level. From a skill standpoint to a motor and mobility standpoint, and fit with the team. I understand the NBA is made up of mainly role players. You are going to have one or two stars per team, maybe three if you’re the Brooklyn Nets, but the rest of the guys are made up of role players.

I think being older helps with that. I want to make sure that I can prove I’m a fit and I belong in the NBA from a skill, size and ability standpoint. I think a lot of people know I can shoot the ball at a high level. I’m looking to prove that I can shoot at a higher level than what I did in college with the different shots I’ve worked on here in Atlanta.

MH: Absolutely. There have been a lot of guys that have come out in the draft as upperclassmen and with that, your skills are more fine-tuned and you’re more pro-ready. Obviously, you can have guys come in as projects but they may not develop the way that you’d like and they are more of a risk. With the older guys, you know what you’re getting. Guys who are more disciplined, who have the work ethic to be better and stay good. They know how to take care of their bodies and take care of themselves off the court. You have more confidence in what you’re going to get if that makes sense.

Obviously, you’ve got the elite of the elite and that is a different story but in our situations, what you see is what you’re going to get. I think we can change the notion that older is worse. Having guys that are older are more capable of being ready right now and contribute right now.





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