FAIRBORN — Wright State freshman guard Skyelar Potter will be lacing up for the first time in a game for the Raiders soon, and he is sure to be, well, skying the boards this season.
Initially, Potter struggled with shooting when he played for Warren Central in Bowling Green, Ky. His coach William Unseld noticed what his strengths were, however, during this time.
“I couldn’t hit anything. He (Unseld) realized all I could do was jump and rebound, so that was my main focus,” Potter said. “As I progressed through high school, I finally got a jump shot together.”
After being counted on to lead his high school team, Potter has been adjusting to his different role at WSU.
“Everybody can do what I can do, so I have to adjust and rely on my teammates instead of being the main guy. Now I stay back,” Potter said. “If I have an open shot, I’m going to take it. If I don’t, I’ll move the ball and let the vets do the scoring.”
WSU assistant coach Clint Sargent has been impressed by what he has seen from Potter so far.
“Overall, I think Skyelar’s physicality has stood out the most. He’s not afraid to scrap for loose balls and compete for rebounds,” Sargent said. “Like most freshmen, I think the speed of the game has been his biggest adjustment. He has done a good job of adjusting to where he can be an assertive and efficient offensive player at the college level.”
Potter describes himself as a guard who can get to the rim, and opposing teams should probably watch out when he does. When asked about a dunk Potter had in practice last month that he posted on Twitter, his face lit up and he already knew that his 360 windmill was being referred to.
“I love dunking,” Potter said. “Anytime I have a ball, and people are around, I go and dunk the ball for no reason.”
“At the guard spot, he (Potter) is probably the best athlete I’ve had the opportunity to either play with or coach,” Sargent said. “Vertically, he is obviously very gifted but also has a great motor to recover and play when he’s tired.”
Though not a basketball player himself, Potter says his father Brad helped through being supportive of his effort while he was playing in high school.
“If I was getting frustrated, he told me to get the ball and take over. When I did, it made him proud,” Potter said. “He didn’t teach me much, but he was there to push me.”
When he started working with his teammates more, Potter says WSU guard Jaylon Hall showed him the ropes.
“He’s (Hall) been to the NCAA tournament and knows what it takes to get there,” Potter said.
Potter says that WSU head coach Scott Nagy has been dispensing defensive advice to him. Sargent has also had a positive impact on him.
“Coach Sargent has helped me out after practice. He talks to me and asks how I’m doing,” Potter said.
After witnessing the Raider’s coronation of a Horizon League title last season, Potter is hoping he can eventually get up to the basket on a ladder rather than jumping, with the contribution of his teammates who have been there before.
“As we go we’ll grow,” Potter said. “They’ll help me and explain what to do and what not to do. Our goal this year is to get there (NCAA tournament) and go deeper than last year.”
“Skyelar’s ability to defend and rebound at a high level will be important for our team this year,” Sargent said. “He is naturally gifted and has all the tools to be a great player this year and throughout his career here at Wright State.”