Before the launch of Missouri’s season and a new era of Tigers’ basketball, the name “Porter” was a symbol of MU’s reawakening. That’s all we could talk about.
We just thought it would be Michael Porter Jr.
It’s his “little” brother Jontay Porter instead.
Porter Jr., the nationally heralded top recruit, suffered an injury less than two minutes into the first game. That led to back surgery. This was a stunning turn of events. Porter was the franchise, at least until he left to seek his instant fortune in the NBA. We didn’t expect Michael to play again this season, but he had other plans. He’s progressing, working, feeling better and stronger. It won’t be a surprise if Porter Jr. reappears on the court in live competition.
Until then, Jontay Porter is doing an outstanding job of repping the family.
When Michael Jr. went down, Jontay had his brother’s back.
Playing a substantial role in Mizzou’s resurgence under coach Cuonzo Martin. The Tigers will go into Saturday afternoon’s home game vs. Mississippi State with a three-game winning streak, a 6-5 SEC record, and ranked at No. 33 at Kenpom.com …
A Porter is leading the Tigers. And if Jontay does it by coming off the bench as an instant-impact, game-changing all-purpose talent that can hit threes, block shots, thread passes and play some of the most effective defense by an SEC player …well, even better.
Coach Martin made a smart decision to have Jontay seated at tipoff to watch, focus in on the action, and calibrate. Jontay has a tendency of letting his enthusiasm overflow into a mess of early foul trouble. Of course he’s rambunctious. He’s 18 and should be in his second semester of his senior year of high school. But Jontay qualified for early college admission to join the family in CoMo.
In Mizzou’s 75-69 win at Ole Miss earlier this week, Porter put on his latest basketball variety show: 18 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks in 23 minutes of do-it-all skill.
“My goodness,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said after the game. “Think about this now: This guy is a high school senior.”
Martin has brought Jontay off the bench in five SEC games. And the production as a non-starter has been phenomenal, with an average of 14.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3 assists and nearly 5 blocked shots. He’s made 53 percent of his shots overall including 55 percent from three range.
Oh, and Mizzou’s record in the five games is 4-1.
Nice move, Coach Martin.
Jontay Porter is one of the SEC’s best players in league competition… no hype … he really is. I looked at the conference-only metrics at Kenpom, and the numbers show the medley of talent that he brings to the floor.
In SEC action, Jontay ranks:
Jontay isn’t leading the conference in any particular category, so why does he rate a mention of being one of the SEC’s best players? My answer: because his name is on the leader board in so many important categories. Offense, defense (blocked shots), rebounding, playmaking, shooting range.
This makes for a valuable presence on the floor. Kenpom named Jontay the game MVP in four of Mizzou’s six conference wins: Ole Miss, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina.
And for good reason. In the six conference victories, J. Porter has averaged 14.7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists. Extending the long arms on his 6-11 frame, he’s blocked 16 shots in the six wins — and that ability to erase has clearly intimidated opponents. At the other end, Jontay shot 53 percent overall, 48% from three-point distance.
It would be great to see Michael Porter Jr. come back.
But let’s not forget about Jontay.
To this point Jontay has been the team MVP … as in Most Valuable Porter.
Thanks for reading …