It’s draft day, and as with every year, there is no shortage of question marks for this year’s group of prospects. Perhaps none more polarizing than the question mark next to Michael Porter Jr.’s name. Porter came out of high school as a lottery pick talent and is still regarded as one of the best prospects in this year’s draft. Despite this, however, his stock has continued to drop throughout the season as he was sidelined for the majority of it due to injuries.
The 6’10 freshman entered the 2017-18 season as a coaches preseason All-SEC First team selection, a member of the Naismith Trophy watch list, ESPN preseason National Freshman of the Year, as well as various preseason first-team All American nods. After just two minutes of play, and two points under his belt in his college career, Porter sustained the injury that would eventually require back surgery, sidelining him until the SEC tournament.
Porter was solid when he returned from injury, but it was clear he was forcing shots trying to make up for lost time, and his conditioning wasn’t quite where it needed to be which is why so many teams are still hesitant on when to take him.
Regardless of where he ends up going in the draft, here is some background information on who many believe to still be the best scorer in this year’s draft:
High School: Nathan Hale / Father Tolton Catholic
Porter Jr. played for two separate high schools in Nathan Hale, located in Seattle, Washington, and Father Tolton Catholic in Columbia, Missouri. It was clear early on that he had the talent to make it to the NBA, as he managed to lead both teams to state titles. His junior season at Father Tolton, Porter Jr. averaged 28.5 pts and 11.8 rebs per game leading his team to the school’s first state title in 54 years. As a senior, he was even better as he led Nathan Hale to an undefeated record and the school’s first state title while averaging 36.2 pts and 13.6 rebs per game.
Porter was the nation’s number one overall recruit coming out of high school and completed the trifecta of winning the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game, as well as both the Naismith and Gatorade Boys National Player of the Year awards.
College Career: University of Missouri
Appearing in just three games for the Mizzou Tigers, Porter managed to notch a total of 30 points and 20 rebounds in 53 minutes of play. Sidelined by injury for most of the year, Porter Jr. was anticipated to lead the Tigers through a tough SEC conference. Nominated as a preseason All-American, a Naismith Award watch lister, and a preseason First-Team All-SEC member, there were high expectations placed on Porter early, and now even higher expectations remain with whichever team is willing to draft him tonight despite his injury history.
Despite what many fear in terms of his injuries, most still believe that Porter Jr. is one of the best talents in this year’s draft, and when healthy will have the opportunity to be a star at the next level.