By: Sammy Stava
On March 24th, 2017, the No. 1 recruit in the country at the time committed.
On November 21st, 2017, he was likely ruled out for the season with a back injury, and later underwent surgery.
On March 8th, 2018, he came back and returned for the postseason.
And on March 26th, 2018, he declared.
That was his timeline at the University of Missouri.
As expected, Michael Porter Jr. announced earlier on his Instagram page that he will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft, ending his college career.
Here was his Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BgzUEChD2PC/
His stat-line at Missouri was three games, 55 minutes, 30 points, 20 rebounds, and one assist.
Against Iowa State in the home opener, his only game at Mizzou Arena was two minutes, two points, and two rebounds.
Against Georgia in the SEC Tournament was 23 minutes, 12 points, eight rebounds, and one assist.
Against Florida State in the NCAA Tournament was 28 minutes, 16 points, 10 rebounds.
That’s one win and two losses.
His impact on the court will be questioned, but his impact off the court will not, and shouldn’t. If Michael Porter Jr. doesn’t commit to Missouri, then this year’s Mizzou Basketball team definitely doesn’t have Jontay Porter, or probably Jeremiah Tilmon and Kassius Robertson. So, if he didn’t commit to Missouri, this year’s team basically doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament in year one under Cuonzo Martin. They also don’t go from an eight-win team to a 20-win team, and they don’t get back to national relevancy. That’s what this team did this year, with him playing very little.
When Michael Porter Jr. committed, this was all about him, and rightfully so. Missouri was the center of attention in the college basketball world, and Mizzou Arena sold out season tickets. But when he got injured, this was all about Cuonzo Martin. Would Martin be able to right the ship? He righted the ship, alright. This was arguably his best coaching job of his career.
Losing Michael Porter Jr. for the remainder of the regular season was supposed to be a death blow to this year’s Missouri Basketball team’s NCAA Tournament chances. It wasn’t. Does next season have to be a death blow for this team in the post Michael Porter Jr. era? Absolutely not, however there are now a lot of unknowns heading into this offseason.
What happens next with Jontay Porter? Who will fill Michael Porter Jr.’s scholarship spot? Those questions remain to be unanswered as we look forward to an intriguing, yet challenging offseason.
With declaring for the NBA Draft, Michael Porter Jr. did what was best for him and his family, as he should have. He also did what was best for this team, deciding early and not dragging it on until the April 22nd deadline so the coaching staff can focus on recruiting purposes. There is no question that he did make an impact on this program despite the unfortunate injury.
What’s next for this program? A recruiting class that will certainly not be better than the top-five recruiting class coming into this season, but this 2018-2019 one may be more important for Cuonzo Martin to continue the positive momentum, because there very well may be a step back next season with losing Jordan Barnett, Kassius Robertson, Michael Porter Jr., and what very well could be Jontay Porter.
Brining in Torrence Watson is a start. What about a grad-transfer to be the next Kassius Robertson, or how about Courtney Ramey? Now we’re talking. If Martin can get Ramey, he could potentially get anybody he wants to in St. Louis.
What’s next for Michael Porter Jr.? The NBA Draft awaits him on June 21st to see where the next level takes him.
Meanwhile, hopefully Missouri fans will appreciate Michael Porter Jr.’s college career, even though it barely happened. He did make an impact on this program. He did make Missouri Basketball matter again.