COLUMBIA, Mo. – The biggest offseason questions for the Missouri men’s basketball team centered on the Porter brothers and their decision regarding the 2018 NBA Draft.
Michael Porter Jr. declared for the 2018 NBA Draft and signed an agent last week. Thursday afternoon, Michael’s younger brother, Jontay Porter, declared for the NBA Draft as well.
Jontay, in a statement, said he does not plan on signing an agent.
“I have loved everything about my experience on and off the court as a member of the Mizzou family, but have always dreamed of playing in the NBA. While I am not making any final decisions at this point. I am not hiring an agent and will be diligent in complying with all NCAA rules to ensure that I maintain my eligibility to compete at the NCAA level for Mizzou in the future,” Jontay said. “I am going to declare for the NBA Draft. This will allow me to evaluate my status with NBA teams so that I can make a fully educated decision on my future. I am excited for this opportunity and appreciate the continued support from Mizzou Nation throughout this process.”
Because Jontay did not hire an agent, he will have until May 30 to withdraw from the draft process and return to Missouri.
While Michael is widely regarded as a top-10 pick, Jontay’s draft position fluctuates depending on the mock draft. Mock drafts change as players declare and the NBA standings change, but Bleacher Report has Jontay as the No. 23 pick to Indiana. Sports Illustrated had Jontay projected as the No. 33 pick to the Hawks and CBS Sports did not have Jontay as a first round pick.
Michael came into the season as the better NBA prospect of the brothers, but while Michael sat out due to a back injury, Jontay played himself into the argument as a first round pick. Jontay, who was ranked No. 25 in the 2017 recruiting class, averaged 9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and showed his versatility by shooting 36 percent from deep and averaging 2.2 assists.
The 6-foot-11 freshman forward was named Southeastern Conference Co-Sixth Man of the Year after coming off the bench in 26 games.
He had his best game of the season at Vanderbilt. With Missouri on a three-game losing streak and clinging to its NCAA Tournament hopes, Jontay scored 24 points, grabbed seven rebounds, shot 90 percent from the field, went 4 of 4 from deep and tallied six assists.
He ended the season averaging 16.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in his final four games.
Jontay’s decision to declare for the NBA Draft, much like his decision to reclassify to the 2018 class, took time. That was expected.
After the team’s 67-54 loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament Jontay said he would take time to evaluate all of his options.
If Jontay does not return to Missouri that will leave the program with four open scholarships.
Chicago point guard Xavier Pinson has verbally committed and if he signs when the recruiting period opens on April 11, he will take one of those open scholarships. Missouri has been linked to two top-100 point guards recently.
Top-50 2018 point guard Courtney Ramey holds an offer from Missouri, as does Mark Smith, who was a top-60 point guard in the 2017 class and has announced his plans to transfer from Illinois. Missouri also offered 6-foot-7 forward Blake Hinson, who is a top-100 prospect from Sunrise Christian Academy.
Last year the Porter brothers highlighted Missouri’s top-5 recruiting class. Now, with them declaring for the NBA Draft, Missouri may be tasked with replacing both of them. If Jontay does not withdraw from the draft and return to Missouri, only Jeremiah Tilmon will remain from the Tigers’ 2018 class.