University of Missouri

Michael Porter Sr. joins MU hoops staff, son released from Washington letter of intent

Michael Porter Jr. (center), who led Nathan Hale High School in Seattle to a state championship, was released from the national letter of intent he signed with Washington.
Michael Porter Jr. (center), who led Nathan Hale High School in Seattle to a state championship, was released from the national letter of intent he signed with Washington. The Associated Press

Michael Porter Sr. has agreed to join new Missouri basketball coach Cuonzo Martin’s staff as an assistant coach.

Porter, who met with Martin last week in Seattle, confirmed the news Thursday in a text message to The Star.

The Tigers’ athletic department confirmed the hiring in a statement Thursday night:

“Mizzou Athletics is pleased to confirm that Michael Porter, Sr., has accepted an assistant coaching position on Cuonzo Martin’s staff, pending the successful completion of the University’s hiring process. Mizzou Men’s basketball will offer additional comment when Coach Martin completes his full-time coaching staff in the near future.”

Porter becomes the first known member of Martin’s staff, but it’s expected that some of his assistants and support staff from California also will wind up in Columbia.

Martin was hired March 15 as the 19th full-time coach in Tigers’ history.

Porter spent 2010-16 on the Mizzou women’s basketball staff, coaching for his sister-in-law, Robin Pingeton.

He left in May to become an assistant on the Washington men’s staff under Lorenzo Romar, spending one season there before Romar was fired last week.

Now, Porter is coming home, news that delighted his daughter, Cierra, who is a sophomore forward for the Tigers’ women.

It’s not immediately clear what Porter’s decision means for his son, Michael Porter Jr.

Porter Jr. — a senior at Nathan Hale High in Seattle, who is the top prospect in the 2017 recruiting class, according to ESPN and Rivals — was released earlier Thursday from the national letter of intent he signed with Washington in November.

Porter Jr. committed to the Huskies last summer, but had a change of heart after Romar, who is Porter Jr.’s godfather, was dismissed.

Now, he’s able to have contact with other schools again, including Missouri.

Porter Jr., who is the Naismith Prep Player of the Year and Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, lived in Columbia during 2010-16 before moving to Seattle when his dad changed jobs.

He helped lead Father Tolton Catholic in Columbia to the Missouri Class 3 state title as a junior last spring, and now he’s strongly considering a homecoming, joining his father at Mizzou.

During a teleconference Wednesday, Porter Jr. said he’s still considering Washington along with Missouri and Oklahoma, but there may be other schools involved as well.

Indiana, which fired coach Tom Crean last week, and Virginia also were in Porter Jr.’s top five before he committed to the Huskies.

Porter Jr., who led Nathan Hale to a 29-0 season, including a Washington Class 3A championship and mythical national title as the No. 1 team in the USA Today Super 25, was introduced to Martin last week when the Tigers’ new coach flew to Seattle for a visit with Porter Sr.

“I was able to shake his hand and say hello,” Porter Jr. said. “He and my dad got to talking, but that was the end of it.”

Porter Jr. said he hopes the unexpected second round of the recruiting process won’t take more than a few weeks before he makes a decision.

“I’ve never been too much of a showy guy, so it probably won’t be something super big and elaborate,” Porter Jr. said. “It will probably just be maybe a tweet or something like that, but we’ll see. I might think of doing something a little special.”

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

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