Porter Jr. Seeks Release from Washington, Talks of Interest in Missouri

Mar 23, 2017

Credit University of Missouri

Former Tolton Catholic High School basketball star — and the country's No. 1 player — Michael Porter Jr. said he has decided to ask out of his National Letter of Intent to play at Washington.

As a Huskies signee since November, he intended to ask out of his NLI from the school after former coach Lorenzo Romar was fired but will meet with new coach Mike Hopkins before formally requesting out.

He'll be a free agent to sign elsewhere when the late signing period opens April 12. 

"I was connected to this coaching staff, and now that they're gone, I want to reweigh my options," Porter Jr. said.

On Wednesday, he was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year after leading Nathan Hale High School in Seattle to a perfect 29-0 state-championship-winning season. Porter Jr. averaged 36.2 points per game and 13.6 rebounds.

After a celebration with his family, friends and coaches, Porter Jr. — who was also recently named Naismith Prep Player of the Year — hosted a conference call with reporters.

"It was something special, and I'll never forget it," he said of the award. "For being able to do it playing for (Nathan Hale coach and former Washington star) Brandon Roy and doing it with my brothers, it was a special year."

After several reporters first congratulated him on his latest honor, the questions turned to where he'd be attending college, most centering around Missouri.

Porter Jr. confirmed that his father, Michael Porter Sr., has been offered an assistant-coaching job on the staff of new Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin but has yet to accept.

Porter Jr. said it's not a foregone conclusion that he and his dad are a package deal for every school, but insists that he wants to play for him. Porter Sr. is taking his son's interest under consideration before making a final decision on where to coach.

"If he accepts it before I know I want to go there, people are going to expect me to follow him," Porter Jr. said. "He wants to be careful about that."

Porter Jr. said Martin and his father met in Seattle to discuss the job and that the only interaction he had was an introductory handshake. Porter Jr. is considering a return trip to Columbia, where he had attended school since fifth grade before moving to Seattle for his senior year.

The Porters' early impression of Martin is positive.

"I trust my dad," Porter Jr. said. "He said Cuonzo's a great guy, he's a winner, he has a competitiveness to him."

He said that younger brother Jontay, a 2018 recruit, has a desire to play with him and is seriously considering reclassifying up a year to play college basketball with him.

"Even if he doesn't class up, there's nothing saying I won't stay two years to play with him," Porter Jr. said.

He added that if he were to come to Missouri, there'd be a lot of pressure to bring instant results to a basketball-starving fan base that's seen 27 wins over the past three seasons. But he also understands the potential that comes with a possible return trip to Columbia.

"I've been shown a lot of love from Mizzou fans," Porter Jr. said. "It could be something real, real special just to be able to come home and do my thing there."

For now, all Porter Jr. is certain of is that his recruitment is open and that he's considering other options.