It’s possible there will be two Porters on the Missouri’s men’s basketball roster next season.
Jontay Porter, who was a junior for Nathan Hale High in Seattle last season, is weighing his options for next season.
Porter — the younger brother of top 2017 prospect Michael Porter Jr., who signed with Missouri last week — is scheduled to graduate from high school next spring.
He could, however, attempt to finish up this summer and enroll in college a year earlier, joining his brother on new Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin’s inaugural squad in Columbia.
The younger Porter announced Monday on Twitter that he would take an official visit to Mizzou on April 24, but that’s not an indication any decision has made.
Jontay Porter— a 6-foot-9, 240-pound post player — told The Star that “anything’s an option at this point” in a text message.
“It’s his decision,” Michael Porter Jr. said. “My dad’s not pressuring him. My mom’s not pressuring him. He doesn’t know yet. He’s listing the pros and cons and can’t make a decision yet, so I don’t know the timetable. He might class up or he might do his senior year of high school.”
If Jontay Porter stays in high school, he said he’d suit up again next season for Father Tolton Catholic High in Columbia “unless something crazy happens.”
Jontay Porter, who lived in Columbia from 2010-16, played for the Trailblazers as a freshman and sophomore, helping lead the program to the 2016 Missouri Class 3 state title along with his brother.
“There are a lot of things that make me want to stay in high school, I’d say more so than going to college,” Jontay Porter said during a conversation late last month in Chicago, where Michael Porter Jr. was chosen as MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game. “For example, going to the McDonald’s All-American Game. There’s just a bunch of opportunities I could have as a senior, not only going to events like this but my game going to the next level as a senior in high school. Being here definitely makes me want the chance to experience it myself.”
Michael Porter Sr., who was hired last month as an assistant on Martin’s staff, also sees benefits in staying in high school.
“Personally, I think it would do him more good to stay in high school,” Michael Porter Sr. said. “He and Michael have been on the same team over the years, but, as Michael has sort of graduated from that team or move on, Jontay had to play and his game always progressed big time. He defers to Mike. He’s Mike’s biggest fan. But when he’s put in the situation where Mike isn’t there, it gives him room to grow.”
Jontay Porter — who committed to Washington in August 2015 but rescinded that decision after his godfather, Lorenzo Romar, was fired as the Huskies’ coach — understands that, too.
“There’s definitely an appeal to that, just being the man on a team, so to say,” he said. “I’ve always been the sidekick with Mike. He’s always been the main man, because he’s the best player in the country. If I’m by myself, I have the opportunity to be more assertive on the offensive end. I think that would be really good for my confidence and my game and get me ready to be a scorer at the college level.”
Jontay Porter hasn’t committed to Missouri, but it’s widely expected that’s where he’ll wind up.
“It just feels right to us when we’re all together,” Michael Porter Sr. said.
But there’s no rush, especially if Jontay Porter remains in the 2018 class.
“There’s still a little bit of a process,” he said, “but, if I had to choose today, I would pick Mizzou just off the fact that my dad is a coach there and I would get to play for him. But really, if I do decide to stay in high school, I have a whole year to figure things out, really get to know Cuonzo and all the other coaches.”
Jontay Porter hopes to make a decision about reclassifying soon and, if he stays in high school, would like to commit for college during the summer with plans to sign next November.
Of course, there’s also the tantalizing option of playing alongside Michael Porter Jr. for Mizzou next season.
“He’d be a huge asset for us,” Michael Porter Jr. said. “He’s a great all-around player and we work really well together, so I’d love to play with him in college. He could use another year of high school, but he’s definitely ready. Body-wise and skill-wise, he can play at that level, for sure.”
Rivals bumped Jontay Porter up to a five-star prospect this week, moving him up to No. 23 overall in its 2018 rankings.
ESPN also recently moved up Jontay Porter, who is listed No. 26 overall and as the third-best 2018 center, but it’s unlikely he’s too invested in that.
“Tay’s never been felt like he needed to be ranked or any of that, and I’m proud of him for that,” Michael Porter Sr. said. “(His mom) Lisa and I teach our kids that comparison is the thief of joy. That’s all rankings are.”
Still, Jontay Porter has become a hot commodity with 247 Sports also rating him as a five-star prospect, No. 22 overall and No. 8 among power forwards.