UPDATE: Due to the recent firing of Washington University’s coach, Lorenzo Romar, Michael Porter Jr. was granted his release from Washington, and has now committed to play at Missouri University next year.
In the least surprising news of the week, Nathan Hale High School’s uber-star, Michael Porter Jr., was named “Mr. Basketball” for the state of Washington.
“Mr. Basketball” is given to the top player in the state and is awarded across the country.
MPJ is the no. 1 player in the senior class, recently earning that top ranking after an outstanding performance in the Hoophall Classic in January.
This season, his first at Nathan Hale, he is averaging 37.2 points per game and 13.3 rebounds per game.
The 6’10” Porter and the Raiders are the top seed in the state’s Class 3A tournament. This time last year, Porter was leading Father Tolton High School in Missouri to a state championship.
Porter’s move to the Northwest was due to his dad, Michael Porter Sr., accepting a job as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at University of Washington. Prior to that, he was an assistant for the Missouri women’s basketball program.
Porter Jr. and his younger brother, Jontay, are both committed to play for Lorenzo Romar and the Huskies. While rumors circulated about the hiring of Porter Sr. and his sons’ commitment to UW, the relationship has been a strong one for a long time. In fact, Coach Romar is actually MPJ’s godfather.
Under the tutelage of Nathan Hale head coach, and former UW and NBA star, Brandon Roy, Porter Jr.’s game has reached new heights.
His performance versus basketball powerhouse Oak Hill moved him to the top of the national rankings, a spot that Hillcrest Prep’s DeAndre Ayton had held for a couple of years.
MPJ’s ceiling is as high as anyone’s in high school basketball right now. His skill-set combined with his length (a 7’9″ wingspan) draws comparisons to the likes of Kevin Durant, Brandon Ingram, and even a young Kevin Garnett.
His game is still developing from a physicality standpoint, as he is too easily pushed off his drives to the rim. However, with his smooth shot, and the ability to get it off – over any defense – serves well for Porter at the next level.
Washington has struggled mightily this year, currently sitting at 9-19, even though they have the likely no. 1 draft pick in Markelle Fultz running the show. Next year’s challenge for MPJ will be to bring the program back to the NCAA Tournament. His last two year’s of high school basketball have been nothing but winning, so it’ll be interesting to see if this superstar’s game can transcend yet another program.