By the time the high school basketball season starts this fall — it’s supposed to start in November — Ethan Potter will begin his third year as a starting forward for the Layton High boys basketball team.
And Potter will already know what’s coming next.
Potter announced Wednesday afternoon he’s going to play college basketball at Utah Valley University, choosing the Wolverines and head coach Mark Madsen over other offers from Nebraska, University of San Diego, Southern Utah and Dixie State.
“I really felt like I connected well with their coaches a lot. I feel like they’ve got a good up-and-coming chance of being a good team. And could have a good chance of making the NCAA Tournament by winning their conference tournament,” Potter told the Standard-Examiner.
Potter said he plans to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after high school.
Recruiting is so much about building relationships between coaches and players, but there was another relationship that Potter’s had for a long time that also contributed to his decision.
“My brother (Chase), he actually is a walk-on at UVU, so we would be there together for a couple years,” Potter said.
Chase Potter graduated from Layton High in 2018, served a mission and recently returned home. It was sort of an added bonus for Ethan, as far as picking colleges goes.
“I had been really thinking about it the last few weeks and I really felt like they had been recruiting me super hard, I got along with them well, it’s a great school. With all those things considered, I felt like that was the best place for me to go,” Potter said.
Potter averaged 22.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 60.7% from the field and 77.6% from the free-throw line in 24 games this past season, according to statistics provided by the team.
The Lancers went 21-3 and lost to Fremont in the state semifinals. Potter’s sophomore year, he averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the floor.
The 6-foot-8 Potter has played mostly as a classic post player with his back to the basket, but expanded his jump shot this past season and became a more versatile scorer.
Potter’s recruiting started to gain traction this summer with the scholarship offers, but the club basketball circuit was basically wiped out due to COVID-19 and the resulting college basketball recruiting dead period, meaning college coaches couldn’t watch Potter and the rest of the class of 2021 recruits live this summer.
“The 2021 group didn’t really get a fair shake, a lot of them, in my opinion,” said Potter’s club basketball coach, Tim Davis of Exum Elite-Utah Prospects. “It is what it is. Coaches were trying to watch on film and its hard to see on film.”
Davis thinks the Wolverines are getting a high-major talent in Potter, who texted Davis about a week ago to let him know he was picking UVU. Two other things stand out, Davis said.
First, he thinks Potter can play a lot early in his UVU career, and second, “Not often does one of the smaller Division I schools get a commitment this early from a high school kid.”
Potter said the COVID impacts on recruiting were weird, but he committed this early because he had already made his mind up.
“I really just felt like it wouldn’t have mattered if any other schools offered me. I would’ve felt the same with my commitment to UVU,” he said.