Emily Potter must have a thing for red and white. After all, that’s all she wears on the basketball court.
The 6-foot-5 post from St. Vital dons those colours for her high school team, the defending provincial champion Glenlawn Lions, and wore them with patriotic pride for the bronze medal-winning Canadian women’s cadet team at the under-17 world championships last summer.
Now she’s found another place to sport the same colour scheme.
Potter recently signed a national letter of intent to join the University of Utah women’s basketball team next season. It was a difficult decision that ultimately came down to Potter’s comfort level with the players and coaching staff, and the team’s on-court similarities to Canada’s national women’s program.
"I’m big on family, and they made me feel comfortable," Potter said. "The system they run works well with Canada Basketball, and (playing for the national team) is something I would like to be doing for a long time."
Just like the national team, the Utes play mostly man-to-man defence, and run an offence heavy on motion and ball screens.
Potter will be one of four Canadians on the Utes’ roster when she arrives in Salt Lake City next fall. All of them play for Canada at some level, from cadet to junior to the Olympic team.
Playing last summer with the national cadet team in Amsterdam gave Potter a taste of what to expect at the NCAA level.
"It was an amazing experience, but also an eye-opener," she said. "There’s tons of work still to be done to be successful at the top level."
Although she’ll be tall enough to play close to the basket in college, Potter is working hard on extending her shooting range.
"I don’t want to be stuck in the post forever," she said, adding that she’s hoping to add the three-point shot to her arsenal in time for the upcoming high school season.
In Amsterdam, playing against players just as tall as her, Potter had to work much harder for rebounds and positioning. The challenge over the next few months will be keeping that discipline when playing against players much smaller.
Another year of high school and a summer with the national junior (under-19) team will help Potter prepare for the college game. She’s hoping to crack Utah’s starting lineup sooner than later, but she knows that all depends on how she develops.
Potter expects to miss home, calling the situation "bittersweet," but she’s eager to see how far the game can take her.
"I’m really excited about the future," she said. "It’s a dream come true. I’ve wanted to play NCAA basketball since I was little. I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity."