Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk spoke with the media about a variety of topics related to the program (via the Columbia Missourian), including Barry Odom’s status as football coach (“There’s things that could happen, but I expect (Odom) to be back”) and the upcoming basketball season following Sunday’s exhibition game against the University of Kansas.
One of those topics was Michael Porter, Jr., and there was this interesting blurb:
Before a conversation with women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton, Sterk had never seen Michael Porter Jr. play. The top-rated prospect was a Washington commit at the time, and the Huskies had not yet fired coach Lorenzo Romar, Porter’s godfather.
Pingeton’s sister is Porter’s mother, and the coach told Sterk that the Porter family was interested in returning to Columbia. Sterk pulled out his phone and looked at YouTube. He was hooked.
The piece says that conversation happened about a month before Romar was fired at Washington. For those that don’t know, Michael Porter, Jr. and his family were originally in Columbia since 2010, when Pingeton was hired as the women’s head coach and Michael Porter, Sr. joined her on the staff first as director of operations and then as an assistant coach. Their are eight Porter children, including Michael’s two older sisters that play for Missouri. The family moved to Seattle in June of 2016 when Porter, Jr. committed to Washington and attended Nathan Hale, coached by former NBA player Brandon Roy.
So here’s the timeline:
- mid-February: Porter, Jr.’s aunt tells the Missouri AD that the Porter family is interested in coming back to Columbia;
- March 5th: Kim Anderson resigns as Missouri head coach;
- March 15th: Washington fires Lorenzo Romar;
- Also March 15th: Cuonzo Martin resigns at Cal and accepts job as Missouri’s new head coach. It was also announced that Porter, Sr. was joining Martin at Missouri as an assistant, after serving as an assistant on Romar’s staff.
- March 22nd: Porter, Jr. announced that he was requesting a release from his national letter of intent to Washington after Romar was fired.
- March 24th: Porter, Jr. commits to Missouri.
When Porter, Jr. committed to join Lorenzo Romar and did not consider Missouri, the Tigers were in a dreadful state. It was not exactly a surprise or an unknown that Kim Anderson would not be returning after the basketball season. In mid-February, Washington was also struggling and top pick Markelle Fultz was hurt, and the prospect of Lorenzo Romar being out was certainly within the realm of possibility. Still, it’s surprising to hear the Missouri AD publicly acknowledge that he heard of interest in returning before all these blocks fell into place.