Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hochman: Porter's Comments Good News for Mizzou

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hochman: Porter's Comments Good News for Mizzou

Article excerpt

Mizzou fans don't get cautiously optimistic; they get minimally pessimistic.

The nation's No. 1 basketball player said he's considering playing for the Tigers?

Here's the fans' fear: They'll enter their home one night, turn on the light, and there's Tyus Edney, Nebraska receiver Matt Davison, the 2012 Norfolk State basketball team and a guy holding a fifth-down marker, all simultaneously screaming: "Gotcha!"

Things like Michael Porter Jr. don't happen to Mizzou often. Things like this happen to (dare I say) Kansas. But on Wednesday, the mythical figure spoke, and no, he didn't announce he's coming to Mizzou but darn if it he didn't sound like he's serious about doing so.

"To be able to go back (to Columbia), I know those Mizzou fans are hungry and I've been shown a lot of love from Mizzou fans," Porter Jr. said on a conference call upon winning Gatorade's award for national player of the year, which Jayson Tatum won last year. "It could be something real, real special just to come home and do my thing there, it would special."

MPJ confirmed that his father, Michael Porter Sr., has been offered a job as a Cuonzo Martin assistant at Missouri.

MPJ affirmed that he's getting out of his national letter of intent with Washington, which fired Lorenzo Romar.

MPJ shared that he met Martin in the past week, and that "I've heard all great things about him."

To think what Porter Jr. could do to the Mizzou way of thinking.

It could reprogram the Mizzou psyche.

And it could reignite the Mizzou imagination.

If Porter Jr. and his brother, Jontay, both play for the Tigers next season, is an eight-win team an Elite Eight team? How about this the Tigers are, at least, a tournament team. When your best player becomes, arguably, your third-best player, that's elevation. And to think, point guard Terrance Phillips cut down on the turnovers significantly in the final six games. And Jordan Barnett had some standout performances. And Kevin Puryear is my favorite current Tiger to watch play basketball he's forever voracious.

On Wednesday, Porter Jr. mentioned these fellows. It was almost surreal wait, the best high school player in the whole country can even name some Mizzou players?

He did, of course, live in Columbia from elementary school through his junior year in high school. And two sisters play for Mizzou's heralded women's team, coached by Porter Jr.'s aunt.

"It would be amazing to back there with them," he said. "Family is important to me, so that's a big consideration."

Wednesday was an important day, I say. He spoke! And the kid didn't shy away from questions about Mizzou. He said the right things about "weighing my options" and all that. But he gave clarity to questions that loom, notably: Will he play wherever his dad accepts a coaching gig?

"It's not a for-sure thing that I would follow him but, it does make sense if he goes to a big school," Porter Jr. …

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