In what was the worst kept secret in the world of recruiting, 2017 five-star small forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to Washington on Friday night.
Porter, who is ranked 4th in ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2017, chose the Huskies over Missouri, Virginia, Indiana and Oklahoma. It was an obvious decision for the Seattle, WA native as Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar is his godfather and Romar just recently reeled in Michael Porter Sr. off of the Missouri women’s basketball staff.
On top of the connections with the coaching staff, Porter’s younger, Jontay, has already verbally committed to Washington in 2018.
Porter is a dynamic wing player with excellent physical tools. He has great size for his position (6’10”), solid athleticism and great length, but most importantly, Porter is an elite scorer, as he makes plays on all three levels.
He’s not the strongest player in the world, however, he can get to the rim with ease, can pull up in the mid-range, is a terrific player in transition, and can use his physical profile to pull up over defenders from beyond the arc.
The small forward has to become a much better passer and work on his ball handling skills, but Porter very well could be the most polished 2018 NBA Draft prospect. You know what your going to get offensively from the Washington native, and his versatility on both ends of the floor is second to none.
To me, Michael Porter Jr., is the safest pick to be a really, really good NBA player down the road. Has the entire package— on and off court
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 15, 2016
After a monster performance at Peach Jam, where Porter scored 33 points and led Mokan Elite to the title, he has slid himself into the conversation as the possible number one player in the class of 2017. While DeAndre Ayton also performed at a high level during the best AAU Tournament in the country, Porter averaged 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked 1.4 shots per game.
And he has the chance to take his game to the next level before he even steps foot on a college floor. Porter is transferring to Nathan Hale for his final year of high school basketball. He will be coached by former Portland Trail Blazer and Washington alumnus, Brandon Roy, who can help Porter learn different facets of the game while also preparing him for what is to come in college.
Meanwhile, Romar has recruited at a high level over these past few seasons. There is a strong possibility that Washington will have three straight lottery picks in three years – Marquese Chriss, Markelle Fultz and Porter. Add on the San Antonio Spurs selecting Dejounte Murray late in the first round and the recent addition of 2017 point guard Blake Harris, and Washington is in business in terms of reeling in high level talent.
The problem with Romar and company is that they haven’t made the Big Dance since 2011, losing to UNC in the second round. Romar’s ability to relate to players has kept him off the hot seat, but if the Huskies aren’t able to make the NCAA Tournament in the next two years with sure-fire NBA talent, the head coach may not last beyond the 2017-18 season.
With youth up and down their roster, Washington wasn’t expected to be a strong team this past season. However, they did surprise some people and became one of the most exciting teams to watch in the nation due to their up-tempo offensively scheme.
Now, with Fultz, David Crisp, Matisse Thybulle, Malik Dime, Noah Dickerson, Dominic Green, Sam Timmins, and Matthew Atewe, the Huskies have a nice core group that should compete in the Pac-12 this upcoming season.
And if they do make the Big Dance, that will be a precursor to what should be an excellent team, led by Porter, in 2017-18.