Sharp shooter uses chip on shoulder to lead to success

Laramie County Community College player Tyrese Potoma in action against Trinidad State College in the Gymnasium on campus. Michael Smith/LCCC

The Laramie County Community College men’s basketball team sit in the driverseat with only two games left and the chance to host a home playoff game.

LCCC has hosted a playoff game the last four of five years, missing out last year. The Golden Eagles lost 76-74 at Lamar Community College last year, but hope that their fate will be different by hosting a playoff game this year. As of Feb. 8, LCCC sits in third place with a conference record of 4-5. According to 12th-year head coach Jason Ficca, every team in Region IX North makes the postseason play with the top four teams being the host for the first round.

One player that has help lead \ the Golden Eagles thus far is sophomore Tyrese Potoma. Potoma sits third in three-point percentage, shooting percentage, and points per game, in Region IX North.

Potoma was not recruited highly out of his home in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. According to Ficca, Potoma played for a postgrad school in Daytona Beach, Florida, where Ficca met Potoma. Potoma received the chance that he needed.

According to Potoma, he thought he needed the postgrad school to decide if he was ready for the level of play in America, due to it being a higher level of play compared to Canada. Playing there also made Potoma stronger and better prepared for college. It is also what brought Potoma to LCCC.

“Tyrese plays with a chip on his shoulder, with not being highly recruited,” Ficca said.

According to Potoma, he is highly grateful for all that Ficca has done for him to give him a shot.

“He gave me a shot, and let me show what I can do at the next level,” Potoma said.

On Jan. 23, Potoma had a season-high 33 points and went 7-of-10 from three-point range. He went off again for 31 points, hitting clutch shots in overtime to give the Golden Eagles a 93-89 win against Eastern Wyoming Community College on Feb. 6. Potoma became vocal, which is something that he and Ficca agreed he needed to work on.

“I need to learn to lead in more ways than just on the floor and scoring, I need to excite my teammates and make sure they are just as excited as me,” Potoma said.

Potoma hopes to keep up his hot shooting and becoming the vocal leader that he and Ficca hope him to be, to help LCCC host a playoff game and make the Region IX tournament. The last time the Golden Eagles made the Region IX tournament was the 2016-17 season when LCCC fell just short to Gillette College.  

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