Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Michael “Baby Durant” Porter Meeting the Hype in July
By NICK MEDLINESpecial to ZAGSBLOGRIVERSIDE, Ill.— Before turning 16, Michael Porter earned offers from Kansas, Missouri, Washington, Wichita State, Baylor, SMU, Indiana and several other schools.
The 2017 Columbia (MO) small forward, though, has one glaring problem: Very few players his age can match him.
Playing up one age level — with the loaded 16U MoKan Elite squad — he still dominated in the Riverside (IL) tournament this weekend. Porter and fellow top 2017 player Jeremiah Tilmon throttled local teams.
“I think I played pretty well,” he told SNY.tv. “The competition isn’t up to where ours is. We have to keep executing and not playing down to the competition.”
The 6-foot-8, 190-pound prospect dispelled any worries about playing down. Porter made point guard-like passes and controlled the paint on both ends of the floor — finishing several dunks.
During one game against an Illinois-based team, MoKan Elite won 74-26. Opposing fans marveled at Porter, who has earned the informal nickname “Baby Kevin Durant.” He and Tilmon will are considered two of the top 10 players in their class.
“KD’s my favorite player so it’s cool being compared to him,” Porter said. “He’s one of the best players in the world. I’m cool with it.”
Of course, this seems like a lofty comparison. But Porter’s impressive offers list at such a young age indicates how advanced his game already is.
Porter can also focus on basketball alone. It’s well before his peak recruiting period, with several schools in the early stages of recruiting him. With Porter being from Columbia, though, the home school started early.
“Mizzou’s recruiting hard obviously because I’m around,” Porter said. “They ask every day if I’m ready to commit. Other than that, I haven’t been around visiting much but I’m hearing from a lot of schools.”
This July, with more dominant performances like these, Porter will keep meeting the hype: He’s one of the best that the class of 2017 has.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.