Jontay Porter was the last loose thread for the Missouri basketball program’s big offseason. Now the tapestry is complete.
Porter on Wednesday appeared to confirm what had long been suspected when he posted a photo of himself in a Missouri shirt with the message: "Class of '17 here I come."
Porter is the sixth addition to the Tigers’ roster since the 2016-17 season ended in March. Porter, who completed his junior year of high school in May, initially committed to Missouri on May 22.
His loyalty to Missouri appeared clear months before that, however. His father, Michael Porter Sr., was hired as an assistant coach by the Tigers on March 23. Michael Porter Jr., Jontay’s older brother and the nation’s top player in the Class of 2017, committed to Missouri one day later.
The question then became whether the younger Porter would leave high school a year early to play for Missouri or join the Tigers in 2018 after his senior year. He said throughout his high school career that he wanted an opportunity to play college ball with Michael, who will likely play one year at Missouri, as many outlets project him to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft.
Porter initially told the Columbia Daily Tribune in March that he was leaning toward staying another year in high school, though the tide turned as the summer progressed. Porter’s stock rose sharply after a stellar spring in the Elite Youth Basketball League, in which he averaged 18.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.6 blocks per game while leading his MOKAN Elite squad to an 11-6 record.
He shot up the boards for various recruiting services this summer, as Rivals.com and 247Sports.com promoted him to a five-star rating and top-20 ranking in the Class of 2018.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Columbia native has a unique skill set for such a big frame. He frequently played on the perimeter and handled the ball in his high school days at Tolton and Nathan Hale in Seattle, and he had a similar role as MOKAN’s main threat. Sixty-four of the 213 field goals (30 percent) he attempted in the EYBL this year were 3-pointers, and he made 43.2 percent of the treys that he took.
While his tendency to hang around the perimeter hampered his offensive rebounding numbers, he was the EYBL’s most dominant defensive rebounder by a large margin. He brought down 154 defensive rebounds, 23 more than any other player in the league.
Porter’s one-and-done prospects are less assured than his older brother’s, but he has the option to be drafted in 2018 even after enrolling at MU a year early. Players are automatically eligible for the NBA draft if they have been out of high school for one season and they turn 19 the year of the draft. Porter will turn 19 in November 2018.