University of Missouri

Lorenzo Romar’s firing reopens possibility of Porters returning to Columbia

McDonald’s All-American Michael Porter Jr. played for Nathan Hale High this season after helping Columbia’s Tolton Catholic High win a Missouri Class 3 title in 2016.
McDonald’s All-American Michael Porter Jr. played for Nathan Hale High this season after helping Columbia’s Tolton Catholic High win a Missouri Class 3 title in 2016. The Associated Press

On the same day Missouri hired Cuonzo Martin as its men’s basketball coach, Washington fired Lorenzo Romar after 15 seasons.

That’s potentially significant for Tigers fans, because consensus five-star prospect Michael Porter Jr. signed with the Huskies in November.

Martin might attempt to hire Michael Porter Sr. as an assistant coach and convince Porter’s sons — Michael Porter Jr. and Jontay Porter, who previously committed to Washington— to come play for Mizzou, a source told The Star.

The Porter brothers, who helped Columbia’s Tolton Catholic High win a Missouri Class 3 championship in 2016 before moving to Seattle last summer, are Romar’s godsons.

Porter Sr. had served on Robin Pingeton’s staff with the Mizzou women before he left to become an assistant under Romar at Washington in May.

Porter Jr. — a McDonald’s All-American and the nation’s top recruit in the 2017 class, according to ESPN and Rivals — committed to the Huskies a few months later.

He’s ranked No. 2 nationally by 27 Sports and No. 5 by Scout and, barring injury, is considered an NBA Draft lottery lock in 2018 as a one-and-done college player.

With the coaching change, Porter Jr. can request a release from his national letter of intent and would be free to sign anywhere in the country.

Jontay Porter — who’s officially listed as a 2018 prospect, but might try to reclassify and enter college next fall — committed to Washington during the summer of 2015, but he’s yet to sign a national letter of intent.

Before picking the Huskies last summer, Porter Jr. — a 6-foot-10 small forward with guard skills who averaged 28.5 points and 11.8 rebounds as a junior at Tolton — whittled down his top five to the Tigers along with Washington, Indiana, Oklahoma and Virginia.

He and Jontay played this season for Nathan Hale High in Seattle, which finished the season as the No. 1 team in USA Today’s Super 25 high school boys basketball rankings.

It’s not out of the question that both could be playing at Mizzou Arena next season on Martin’s inaugural Tigers team.

The Porter brothers’ sister, Cierra, is a sophomore forward with the Mizzou women, who are a No. 6 seed and open NCAA Tournament play Friday in Tallahassee, Fla.

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

  Comments