McDonald’s All-American Game MVP Michael Porter Jr. officially signed with the Missouri men’s basketball team — kind of — on Wednesday as the NCAA regular signing period got underway.
And as elated as Tigers fan are, Porter is just as thrilled.
“Mizzou is my home,” he said in a statement from Mizzou athletics. “I lived in Columbia from fifth grade all the way until my senior year of high school. That place has shown me so much love. And I want to give back to that. I want to get Mizzou basketball back to the atmosphere I know it can be.”
Porter — a 6-foot-10 wing from Nathan Hale High in Seattle, who is in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game on Friday — signed a financial-aid agreement with MU, a promissory note that guarantees the school will provide a full-ride scholarship.
Last November, Porter signed national letter of intent with Washington — a binding agreement between the player and school, but the NCAA only permits prospective student-athletes to sign one such agreement per calendar year.
Porter requested a waiver from that commitment last month when former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar was fired, making him a free agent after the release was granted.
Porter committed to Mizzou on March 24 — one day after the school confirmed his father, Michael Porter Sr., would be joining new men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin’s staff.
While a financial-aid agreement isn’t binding for the player, Porter Jr. is expected to play this fall for the Tigers, who can now acknowledge landing the No. 1 prospect in the 2017 recruiting class.
“It goes without saying, but Michael is a special player and a special person,” Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin said in a release from the athletic department. “Michael comes to the Mizzou family from a great family of his own, and our basketball program is thrilled to have a student-athlete with his character, drive and passion. Lisa and Michael Porter Sr. raised Michael well. He is continually motivated to give and is always striving to be a great teammate.
“Most of all, welcome home to Michael. Mizzou is a special place and Columbia is a community that already knows him well. I’m looking forward to Michael representing Mizzou well, on and off the court and in the classroom, and I’m sure he looks forward to it, as well.”
Porter called Martin “a normal, humble guy” in expressing delight at the chance to play for him next season.
“I can’t wait to play for him,” Porter said. “He wants to put me in the best possible situations to succeed. As a player, you can really tell he is a guy that wants his players to be great, see them do well and make it to the next level.”
Porter Jr. is Missouri’s first McDonald’s All-American since 2000 and the seventh alumnus of the game to join the Tigers.
He averaged 36.2 points and 13.6 rebounds last season for Nathan Hale, winning the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year and Naismith Prep Player of the Year honors while also leaders to the Raiders to the Washington Class 3A state title.
As a junior at Father Tolton Catholic High in Columbia, where Porter lived from 2010-16, he averaged 28.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in the helping the Trailblazers win the Missouri Class 3 state title.
Porter is a consensus five-star prospect and ranked No. 1 in the 2017 class by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals. Scout still lists him No. 5 overall.
He is the third Rivals five-star prospect the program has ever signed out of high school — joining Linas Kleiza (2003) and Tony Mitchell (2009), a partial qualifier who never played for the Tigers and instead wound up at North Texas.
Porter joins a frontcourt that includes fellow wing Jordan Barnett, who is the only senior on next season’s roster, along with Kevin Puryear, Reed Nikko and Mitchell Smith, whose freshman season was cut short by a torn ACL.
Porter is the Tigers’ second 2017 signee. He joins Richland (Texas) Hills point guard C.J. Roberts, who signed with the Tigers in November and reaffirmed his commitment last week after meeting with Martin.