In the least shocking development of Missouri basketball’s transcendent offseason, Jontay Porter verbally committed Monday to new coach Cuonzo Martin’s program.
“I told the coaching staff with Mizzou that I was ready and they suggested doing it today based on keeping hype level up for Mizzou fans ,” Jontay Porter said. “ … They’re already excited with all these other commitments. After (East St. Louis center) Jeremiah (Tilmon) committed last week, I just thought this was a perfect time heading into summer to get everyone hyped for November.”
Porter’s older brother and the top 2017 prospect, Michael Porter Jr., signed with the Tigers in April and his father, Michael Porter Sr., joined Martin’s staff in March.
“Obviously, Mizzou was the overwhelming favorite from the jump,” said Jontay Porter, who decommitted from Washington in March and took an official visit April 24 to MU.
As welcome as the news is, Tigers fans remain on pins and needles to see if Jontay Porter will graduate early from high school and join the team in the fall or if he’s the first piece in the 2018 recruiting class.
“There’s a long list or pros and cons for both things,” Jontay Porter said.
By reclassifying, he’s guaranteed to play with Michael Jr. in college, plus Jontay Porter would start the clock earlier on his dream of a pro career.
But by staying in school, Jontay Porter could vie for a third straight state championship and might get to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic.
“Unless I’m wholeheartedly willing to give up all those things, then I’m probably going to stay in high school,” he said. “I’m willing to give up most of those things, but we’ll see. I’ve just got to think about it more.”
Living at home one more year and enjoying his final months of childhood might be the hardest thing to sacrifice.
“College is a big step and I don’t want to rush life too much, so I’ve just got to make sure I’m willing to do that and then I’ll go through it without any doubt,” Jontay Porter said.
Jontay Porter said returning to Father Tolton Catholic High in Columbia, where he averaged 11.8 points with 7.8 rebounds for Missouri Class 3 state champion in 2015-16, makes sense, but prep school — think Oak Hill Academy, IMG Academy or Findlay Prep — also could be an option.
“I have a better idea what I’m going to do, but I still need to pray about it and talk to family more about it before announcing a decision,” Jontay Porter said.
He told USA Today earlier in the month that he doesn’t plan to announce a decision about possibly reclassifying until late July.
“Whatever decision I make, I’m going to do it with no regrets,” said Jontay Porter, who moved to Seattle last summer when his dad became an assistant on Lorenzo Romar’s staff at Washington.
Jontay Porter averaged 14.3 points and 13.6 rebounds as a junior at Nathan Hale High, which won a mythical national championship after finishing 29-0 and winning the Washington Class 3A state title in March.
He’s continued to rocket up 2018 recruiting rankings with a series of strong performance this spring with Kansas City-based Mokan Elite on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit.
Through 12 EYBL games, Jontay Porter is averaging 18.1 points with 12.7 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.4 assists while also shooting 40 percent from three-point range, connecting on 24 of 60 attempts from deep.
“We’re real confident heading into this last session in LA and hopefully we get another 4-0 weekend and bring that momentum to Peach Jam and win that again,” Jontay Porter said. “I’ll decide from there whether I’m going to Mizzou or going to high school again.”
Jontay Porter (6-10, 240) is listed as a five-star power forward by 247 Sports and Rivals, while Scout pegs him as a four-star power forward and ESPN as a four-star center.
Among current 2018 recruits, he’s ranked No. 10 overall by Rivals, No. 18 by 247 Sports, No. 26 by ESPN and No. 43 by Scout.
“I feel like I’ve constantly progressed in my game just off me and Mike (Jr.) working out and getting better or being in the weight room, and I think it’s starting to show,” Jontay Porter said.
The Tigers recruiting class already includes Michael Jr. and Tilmon along with Richland (Texas) Hills combo guard C.J. Roberts, Word of Christian Academy point guard Blake Harris from Raleigh, N.C., and Canisius shooting guard Kassius Robertson, a graduate transfer.
The Tigers have one scholarship available for 2017-18 after redshirt forward Jakoby Kemp decided last week to transfer.