In surprising news, it was announced earlier this week that star freshman forward Michael Porter Jr. would return to the court for the Missouri Tigers for the SEC tournament. The former no. 2 overall recruit in country and the McDonald’s All-American Game MVP returned to the hardwood after only playing 2 minutes all season. He injured his back in the first game of the year, and many pundits and scouts thought that he wouldn’t return at all and make sure he was ready to go by the NBA Draft in June.
It was announced on March 3 that Porter Jr. would return for the Tigers in the SEC tournament game versus the Georgia Bulldogs.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 7, 2018
Michael Porter Jr. hasn't skipped a beat – he drilled 15 straight 3's in practice. pic.twitter.com/G0kFGuBJl4
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 8, 2018
Although Michael Porter Jr. didn’t start the game, he entered the game with a little more than three minutes gone in the first half. His impact was immediately felt, as he grabbed a defensive rebound, tossed an outlet pass to his brother Jontay Porter, who slid him a pocket bounce pass right back to him for the easy fast-break lay-up. It was something Missouri and basketball fans across the country have been waiting to see the entire year. There is only so many highlight videos on Youtube that you can watch on the phenom who averaged 37 points and 14 rebounds-per-game in high school.
Michael Porter Jr. scores his first basket since Nov. 10th. 👀pic.twitter.com/e87GEaWgZq
— Leading NBA (@LeadingNBA) March 8, 2018
After that first bucket, the rest would be what you would expect out of someone who have missed basically the whole season and by his own account “at 65-70% health wise” according to the SEC Network telecast. He was rusty in his return, finishing 5-17 from the field for 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. This much was to be expected, no matter how talented a player Porter Jr. is. Nobody should be sweating his poor shooting performance.
Do NOT judge Michael Porter Jr., off today's performance. I repeat. Do NOT judge him from today. Kid is a terrific talent. Needs time to shake off the rust.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 8, 2018
All this goes to show that the talent is clearly there and the secret of Michael Porter Jr.’s game is no more. He is clearly lottery pick on potential and talent alone, despite the poor shooting game. I would not be surprised if he goes top seven in the 2018 NBA Draft. Fully healthy, I think he is an All-Star caliber wing who fits right into today’s style of play in the NBA.
Featured Image: Bleacher Report
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