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.
2017 Star Michael Porter Jr. Planning Washington, Virginia Visits
WEST ORANGE, N.J. — It’s safe to say that Michael Porter Jr. was the player most fans were excited to see in Saturday night’s Mary Kline Classic Underclassmen Game.
The 6-foot-9 junior small forward from Columbia (MO) Father Tolton has drawn early comparisons to Kevin Durant for his size, shooting ability and athleticism. He is ranked the No. 1 small forward and No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.com.
“He’s one of the best players in the country regardless of class,” Virginia-bound guard Kyle Guy of Lawrence (IN) Central, who has known Porter Jr. since they were young children, told SNY.tv. “The sky’s the limit for him.”
Before scoring 19 points as Team Bravery beat Team Inspiration, 139-132, Porter Jr. said he models his game after some of the NBA’s top wing players.
“I like to watch Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay and Carmelo Anthony, big wings like that,” said Porter Jr., who is one of eight siblings.
No wonder there’s a mad rush for his skills at the college level.
“Virginia, Washington, Mizzou, Kansas, Duke, they’re all in their pretty good,” he said.
Virginia may have as good a shot as anyone.
“I love Virginia,” he said. “Coach [Tony] Bennett’s a really good coach, I like the way they play and my best friend, Kyle Guy, is committed there. I came up here with him.”
Porter Jr. says Guy works on him to join him “every day.”
“Me and Mike been friends since second grade so I’ve been working on him since Day 1,” the 6-2 Guy said with a smile. “But now that things are actually getting serious I’ve been texting him weekly just seeing how he’s doing. Not getting too serious but always throwing something Virginia his way.
“If Michael Porter comes to Virginia we’re putting a banner up.”
Porter Jr. said he plans to visit Virginia during the NBA Top 100 Camp in June.
(Speaking of Virginia, point guard Ty Jerome of Iona Prep, who is committed to the Cavs, won the 3-point contest, out-gunning Iona Prep teammate and Notre Dame signee Matt Ryan, 14-10, in the final round.)
Washington is also in play for Porter Jr.
U-W coach Lorenzo Romar is Porter Jr’s Godfather, but was unsuccessful in his efforts to pry Michael Porter Sr. away from his job as an assistant with the Mizzou women’s team in order to join Romar’s staff this spring.
“My Godfather is the coach at Washington, Lorenzo Romar, so I’m taking a visit up there next weekend so I’m really excited about that,” he said.
Kansas and Duke are also heavily involved.
“Kansas is close to him so it would be easy for my parents to come to games,” he said. “IT’s also great tradition, great coaching. And Bill Self really prepares his player as well, too.”
As for Duke, “Coach K really develops his player for the next level and the tradition there is great, so it’s a really good school.”
As for Kentucky, he said they are “after me” but haven’t offered yet.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.