He’s been on the bench for most of the college basketball season, but Michael Porter Jr. is back! The Missouri player is set to re-debut ahead of March Madness, so get the lowdown on this star recruit.
Though Michael Porter Jr. has only played two minutes of college-level basketball, the 19-year-old Columbia, Missouri native is still highly regarded prospect, especially going into the 2018 NBA Draft. He’ll get plenty of reason to raise his profile, as he and the University of Missouri head into the Southeastern Conference tournament, one stop before the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament – aka “March Madness” – kicks off. With Michael expected to remind the world why so many see him as a Top 10 draft pick, here are some facts people need to know.
1. His college basketball career nearly ended before it started. With Michael likely entering the NBA draft (though he hasn’t officially declared himself eligible), the 2017-18 season was likely the only chance fans could see him play college ball. Except – he hasn’t. Michael played just for two minutes in Mizzou’s season opener against Iowa State before “tweaking” his hip. It wasn’t his hip, but his back.
Michael underwent surgery – a “microdiscectomy of his L3-L4 spinal discs,” according to CBS Sports – which “removes herniated disc material pressing on the spinal cord or a nerve root.” In a blink of an eye, it seemed as if Michael’s season was over, but good news! Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said that Michael was cleared and he will play in Mizzou’s SEC tournament opener on March 8.
2. He has the potential to be big. Though the only real idea of Michael’s talents comes from a 93-87 loss to Kansas. During that Oct. 2017 charity game, Michael put up 21 points. During his high school career, he averaged 36.2 points 13.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists, according to ESPN, who listed him as their No. 1 high school recruit.
3. His Mom is a bigger baller than him. If you want to know where Michael’s talents come from, look no further than his mother. Lisa Porter (formerly Lisa Becker) played basketball for the Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School. During the 1982-83 season, she averaged 58.7 points per game. Yes, that’s right. Fifty-eight points a game my senior year, my kids can’t get that,” she told the Gazette. While at the University of Iowa, she scored more than 1,300 points, led the Hawkeyes to their first Big Ten conference championship, and connected on a school-record 58.4% of her shots as a college freshman.
4. He almost ended up in Washington. Initially, Michael committed to going to the University of Washington, but after the school let go of Lorenzo Romar, Michael had a good reason to change his mind. His father was assistant coach under Lorenzo, and with his firing, Michael Sr. was hired on to be assistant coach at Missouri. Michael Jr. just followed his dad (and his younger brother, Jontay Porter.)
5. He’s very spiritual. When Michael got hurt, he posted a Bible verse online and said that he would be back, according to ESPN. His faith is something he and his family take serious. “It’s awesome,” his mother said of having a possibly basketball dynasty under her roof, “but what I value is equipping my kids to be men and women of God. There are lots of conversations in our house. We have checkpoints with our kids every week. Michael Jr.’s two brothers shoot it straight with him. If they see something that’s ‘all about me,’ they’ll tell him. He’ll do the same thing for his siblings.” It’s safe to say they’ll be watching him as he takes to the court during the SEC tournament and say a prayer he remains healthy for March Madness.