The USC commit was bumped up to a five-star prospect after strong showings at several showcase events, including a player of the year nod at the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic.
Mike Bethea’s phone has become a confessional hotline since concluding Rainier Beach’s boys basketball season with a runner-up finish in the Class 3A state tournament in March.
Vikings senior Kevin Porter Jr. has played in multiple basketball showcases across the nation, each time moving those affiliated with the NBA to call Bethea, Porter’s coach at Rainier Beach, to admit they didn’t understand the depth of talent the 6-foot-5, 195-pound wing possesses.
“The rundown is that everybody feels Kevin is the best player on the court,” Bethea said.
Praise mounted when Porter played in a scrimmage against the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Select Team during the Nike Hoop Summit near Portland in early April. And it should continue when Porter suits up for the Ballislife All-American Game on Saturday in Norwalk, Calif.
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The USC-commit has been upgraded to a five-star prospect according to 247Sports.com. The recruiting site has Porter ranked 25th in the country. ESPN, which still has Porter listed as a four-star athlete, bumped its ranking of Porter from 54th to 38th in the nation for the Class of 2018.
Porter wasn’t invited to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game or the Jordan Brand Classic, which are considered the elite all-star showcases for high-school players.
He did dazzle in the American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships in San Antonio in March. And he was named co-player of the year with North Carolina-bound Nassir Little at the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic in Philadelphia on April 21. Little was one of seven McDonald’s All-Americans participating in the event.
“Kevin has a chip on his shoulder just like the Jamals and Nates,” Bethea said of former Beach stars Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson, who became NBA standouts. “They were overlooked a lot for those bigger high-school all-star games, too, and Kevin wants to prove that he belongs.”
“In high school, Kevin and Tre (Anderson) had to carry the load. When you’re playing on that type of circuit, it’s a lot easier to show your ability because you’re playing with guys of equal ability. You can flourish a lot more.”
Porter, who shoots left and often dunks with his right hand, averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds a game his senior season. He was named MVP of the Metro League and Mr. Basketball by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association.
“I came in here to make a statement,” Porter told The Oregonian about playing before about 100 NBA scouts in the scrimmage against the USA Basketball team. “I feel like I’ve been (over)looked for a couple years now. I got this opportunity to play against the best, so I just wanted to compete and show what I can do.”