Michael Porter Sr. flew into this city Thursday morning ready to watch and support his two oldest sons, Michael Jr. and Jontay, in the NBA draft combine. But there wasn’t much for the father and Missouri assistant basketball coach to watch.
Porter Jr., like most projected lottery picks, did not participate in the five-on-five scrimmages here during the first day of action at the combine, which ends Friday. Jontay Porter, who has declared for the draft but has not signed with an agent — which leaves open the possibility of a return to MU — surprisingly opted not to participate in the scrimmages either.
“We were advised not to have him do five-on-five,” Porter Sr. told The Star.
Such an advisement would indicate that the Porter family believes 18-year-old Jontay’s draft stock is strong and that participating in the scrimmages could have hurt it more than helped it.
“I don’t know if it’s where we want it to be, but it’s good,” Porter Sr. said of Jontay’s draft stock. “It’s actually in a really good place. Just got to finish strong.”
Regardless of whether Jontay decides to return to Mizzou, the father repeated to The Star what he had said earlier this week on a podcast produced by PowerMizzou.com:
“My plan is to stay at Mizzou,” Porter Sr. said.
He is the highest-paid assistant coach on Cuonzo Martin’s staff. His contract runs through April 30, 2020, and includes an annual base salary of $300,000, plus an additional $75,000 in supplemental salary each year.
"We’ll have input still,” Porter Sr. said about his sons' careers. “But not on the day-to-day basis. Not on the daily moment-by-moment basis that we did when they were growing up.”
Porter Sr. is still taking some responsibility for gathering intel on where Jontay Porter could land in the draft. The 6-11 forward — who has the highest body fat percentage (13.85%) of any prospect participating in the combine — projects as a late first- or early second-round pick. His father said the projections he’s heard have varied “big time … anywhere from 12 to early second round.”
“I don’t think you will ever really know unless someone just comes out and gives you a guarantee,” Porter Sr. said.
Jontay Porter must decide whether to stay in the NBA draft or return to school by May 30. The father said he would not need a first-round guarantee from an individual NBA franchise in order to feel comfortable with Jontay going pro, but he would like “the majority of the feedback to be like: Oh yeah, he’s definitely first-round material.”
Going pro after one year of college has long been the expectation for Porter Jr., the former No. 1 recruit in the country who entered this past season at Mizzou with a chance at being the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. But this process is perhaps arriving earlier than anticipated for Jontay Porter, who graduated high school a year earlier to play for MU and was at times Missouri’s best player during a season that his brother sat out much of after undergoing back surgery.
Porter Sr. has coached his sons for much of their lives, but now he is ready to take on a lesser role in their basketball careers — if Jontay opts not to return to Mizzou.
“These guys here are the best of the best, the up-and-coming, young stars,” Porter Sr. said while watching some prospects participate in the five-on-five scrimmage. “And to see my sons included in that group is really pretty cool.”