Just 4 days ago Michael Porter Jr. announced that he would be entering the 2018 NBA Draft and not returning for a second season at the University of Missouri. He officially signed with Priority Sports on Thursday. The CEO of the company and long time agent, Mark Bartelstein, represents former St. Louisan, Bradley Beal, of the Washington Wizards, and NBA veteran DeMarre Carrol, of the Brooklyn Nets, who was also a former Mizzou Basketball player.
MPJ only played a total of 53 minutes, hitting 9 of 27 shots, and 3 of 10 from beyond the arc. He did, however, grab 18 rebounds in the 2 games he played.
It’s not just about the stat sheet though. The kid showed heart and true sportsmanship. After the loss to Florida State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, he showed his emotion. He shed tears knowing this wasn’t the season he dreamed of for his team. Michael Porter Jr. did more for Mizzou Men’s Basketball than we give him credit for. Before this season, I wasn’t even excited for Mizzou Basketball. I kind of watched games here and there. I wasn’t genuinely interested though. This year, even after his injury, I was always interested. This team was exciting. They had some great wins against good schools. We beat two teams who were ranked 21 this season; Kentucky and Tennessee. Of course, they had their struggles, but every team does. We had new players, a new coach, and a new system. This Mizzou Basketball team won 20 games. That stat right there is an incredible turn around from a year ago.
Why am I talking about the excitement, the interest, and the wins? Well, because all of that is partly due to Michael Porter Jr. coming to Mizzou. Whether he was on the court or not. Whether he was in the lineup or not. Players came here wanting to play for coach Martin, because MPJ came here wanting to play for coach Martin. Some players came here wanting to play with MPJ. His brother, Jontay, graduated early from high school, so that he could play college ball with his brother and really make a run at a miracle season. This whole team genuinely thought they had a shot at going deep in the tournament before the season even started. We have to give some credit to Michael Porter Jr. Even though we didn’t have that miracle season we all hoped for, we still had a fun, exciting, winning season.
MPJ was on the bench all year, rooting for his teammates, wanting to be out on the court with them. He didn’t have to play at all this season, he chose to, because he cares. He looked slow and sluggish on the court. It was obvious he wasn’t 100%. He wasn’t in game play shape. But he wanted to do anything he could to help his team. Even if it meant his draft stock goes down a few spots. And don’t say a few spots is nothing. The difference between the number one overall pick and the number ten overall pick is millions of dollars.
MPJ is a a great team player who helped make Mizzou basketball exciting again.
That’s good enough for me.
Good luck at the draft MPJ. We wish you all the best in your career.