Michael Porter Jr. of Nathan Hale High School was named the 2016-2017 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Now, what’s next?
While the announcement was presented as a surprise at his home, it was hardly shocking consider his play this year. The bigger surprise was that after moving to the state of Washington for his senior year, he plans to request a release of his national letter of intent from the Huskies after Romar was fired.
Porter will become a valuable player for whatever program lands him next season. Before he transferred to Nathan Hale to play for former NBA star Brandon Roy in Seattle, the high school was 3-18.
“Brandon is a big part of my success I’ve had this year,” Porter told The Big Lead on a teleconference. “I couldn’t have been in a better situation. That’s an NBA All-Star … It was a perfect situation for me.”
This season, his first as a basketball coach, Roy was named 2017 Naismith High School Coach of the Year. Nathan Hale finished 29-0 and his team also won the state championship.
Porter said he is a positionless player. He mentioned that he wants to play like Kevin Durant and Tracy McGrady and also admires point guards like Damian Lillard and Chris Paul.
It’s safe to say that Porter had a big influence on the success of his high school team. The high school stud played just one season in Seattle and averaged 34.8 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. He also put up insane highlights like this one below:
Previous winners of the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year in the last ten years almost exclusively went to big-name programs.
Jayson Tatum and Jabari Parker went to Duke. Karl-Anthony Towns and Brandon Knight went to Kentucky. Jrue Holliday and Kevin Love went to UCLA. Andrew Wiggins attended Kansas while Bradley Beal committed to Florida.
The lone exception was the 2016 winner: Ben Simmons. Has Simmons set a trend that the top player doesn’t have to go to a big program? Instead, Porter may want to try to see what kind of difference he can make at the next level, much like he did in high school at Nathan Hale.
On the date of publication, 247 Sports predicts Washington with a 53 percent chance of retaining Porter while Mizzou is at 47 percent. Porter says he has not ruled out Washington, despite expressing his desire to request a release from his national letter of intent.
He also did not say that Mizzou was a favorite. Porter said that he has not spoken with new Washington coach Mike Hopkins yet, nor has he spoken with Cuonzo Martin, the new head coach at Missouri.
But Porter grew up in Columbia, Missouri. He has obvious roots to the city and to the basketball program.
“Ever since fifth grade, that’s where I grew up … To be able to go back there, I know those fans are hungry. I’ve been shown a lot of love by Mizzou. It could be something real, real special to be able to come home.”
Porter has two sisters (Bri and Cierra) on the Missouri Women’s Basketball team. His father, Michael Porter, Sr., has previously coached at Mizzou as well. Many speculate that he will join the Mizzou staff for next season.
Jontay, his younger brother, is also considering classing up and playing with Michael at the next level. If that was at Mizzou, four siblings could play for the same school at the same time.
His father is no longer on the Washington Men’s Basketball staff after he coached there last season. That makes sense, considering former Washington Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar is Porter’s legal godfather.
“[My dad] has been offered an assistant coaching job but he’s yet to accept it because obviously if he accepts it before I know if I want to go there, people are going to expect me to follow him. He wants to be careful about that.”
During the teleconference, he said that it wasn’t a “for sure thing” to follow his father — though he thinks that it would be a great situation if he could.
Porter also received offers from Kentucky (who he picked to win the 2017 Men’s Basketball Tournament) and Kansas. But besides Oklahoma, he didn’t say what other schools he was considering. It’s worth mentioning that Porter was also highly recruited by Duke.
The entire process of deciding where to play in the NCAA has been a roller coaster for Porter.
“I won the championship with my high school team, went undefeated. Then right after that, coach Romar got fired. Right after that, I win this Gatorade Player of the Year. Tomorrow, I’m right back to ‘where am I going to go to college next year?'”
As for a timetable on an announcement, Porter says that he expects to make a decision about the next level within the next couple weeks.