He and his bother Jontay Porter head The Seattle Times All-State basketball team after leading Nathan Hale to the state title and a No. 1 national ranking.
Burger companies aren’t known for asking the tough questions. But Michael Porter Jr. was stumped.
While filling out paperwork as part of being a McDonald’s All-American, Porter needed to declare the city he’ll represent — “Just a kid from…” — for some marketing T-shirts.
“I really struggled with that question,” said Porter, who was born north of Indianapolis in Noblesville, Ind. A basketball coach’s son, he bounced with his family to Columbia, Mo., as a sixth-grader and landed in Seattle’s hoop circle for his senior year of high school.
Seattle Times All-State boys team
F, Jontay Porter, Nathan Hale, 6-10, Jr.
He was an all-Metro first-team pick after averaging 12.7 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.
PG, Daejon Davis, Garfield, 6-4, Sr.
The Washington signee averaged 18.8 points and 4.5 assists per game as he led the Bulldogs to their second state-title game appearance in the past three years.
G, Jaylen Nowell, Garfield, 6-4, Sr.
The Washington signee averaged 20.5 points and 3.3 assists to help Garfield reach the state-tournament championship game.
PG, Nate Pryor, West Seattle, 6-1, Sr.
The Seattle University commit averaged 18.6 points, 4.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds this season. The Wildcats placed third for the first time in school history.
G, Cameron Cranston, Union, 6-6, Sr.
Averaged 19.3 points per game during the Titans’ run to the Greater St. Helens League title. Union placed second at state and Cranston was the tourney MVP.
Coach: Keffrey Fazio, West Seattle
Led the Wildcats to their first state-tournament berth since 2008, losing on a buzzer-beater in the semifinals. Fazio was also named Metro Coach of the Year.
Porter, a 6-foot-9 forward, spun the Metro League’s worst team into a Class 3A boys basketball state champion, averaging 36.2 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.4 blocks. He’s The Seattle Times’ state boys player of the year, leaving an indelible impression in only eight months of living in Washington.
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“I didn’t know what to expect coming out here,” said Porter, whose father was an assistant coach for the University of Washington’s men’s basketball team. Porter was committed to Washington, but his next move, in the wake of Lorenzo Romar’s firing Wednesday, is unknown.
Porter, who has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, had his breakout season in Missouri when he and younger brother Jontay, a 6-9 forward, led Father Tolton Catholic High to the state’s Class 3 title. That was the city of Columbia’s first boys basketball title in 54 years.
Porter, 18, captivated the city with a double-double — 44 points and 20 rebounds — in his first game vs. West Seattle. Then came the array of dunks and scoring nights of 46, 51, and 52 points.
“I feel like if Mike went to the NBA right now, he would not be guarded by a lot of people,” said teammate PJ Fuller, a sophomore point guard. “Nobody in high school can guard him. He’s definitely the best player in the country.”
Nathan Hale had good basketball teams in the 1990s; alumni remember home games selling out by lunchtime. The Porter-led Raiders had people arriving to modest high-school gyms across the region three hours before tipoff and not get in.
Porter was often swarmed postgame by grade-schoolers wanting autographs and pictures.
“I grew up in Indiana, so seeing Danny Granger walk around the gym, I looked up to him and wanted a picture with him,” Porter said. “To be able to be in that position where kids want to take a picture with me, I’m all for it. It’s just crazy to see all the blessings God has given me. I didn’t ask to be 6-9 with a 7-2 wingspan, but I feel like God designs people for a reason.”
Porter scored 27 points with 17 rebounds in the state-title win at the Tacoma Dome to cap a 29-0 season. A day later he was back in the gym working out.
He bounces on to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 29 in Chicago. Porter is also slated to play in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 7 in Portland and the Jordan Brand Classic on April 14 in Brooklyn.
All as a kid who gave Seattle one memorable basketball season.