The Huskies have officially lost the consensus top recruit in the country for next season, as he will head home to Missouri.
The biggest fallout from the firing of Lorenzo Romar is here.
Michael Porter Jr., regarded as the nation’s top-ranked recruit, announced Friday on Twitter that he will attend the University of Missouri, where his father recently accepted an assistant coaching position. Porter, a 6-foot-9 forward, used the phrase “I’m coming home” as a backdrop to a photoshopped image of him in a Mizzou jersey soaring while palming a basketball, presumably for a dunk.
Born north of Indianapolis in Noblesville, Ind., the Porters moved to Columbia, Mo., when Michael Jr. was in the sixth-grade because his father, Michael Porter Sr., took an assistant women’s basketball coaching position at Missouri. Porter’s older sisters, Cierra and Bri, play basketball for the Tigers. Bri Porter suffered a torn ACL early in the 2016-17 season.
“In Missouri, that’s where I took my game to the next level,” Porter said recently of what he considers his hometown. He and brother Jontay led Tolton Catholic High to Missouri’s Class 3 championship last year. It was the first boys basketball team from Columbia to win a state title in 54 years.
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Romar, who’s Michael Jr.’s godfather, lured the family to Seattle by hiring the eldest Porter to the University of Washington’s men’s basketball staff. But after one season, Michael Sr. wasn’t retained by UW’s new coach Mike Hopkins, who was introduced Wednesday.
“My dad coached me growing up, so to be able to play for him in college would be something special,” Michael Jr. said Wednesday. “He (always tells) me you can’t stay comfortable. If you want to get better, you’ve got to push beyond your limits but at the same time, always have fun playing the game because if you don’t you’ll get burned out. He’s taught me a lot of lessons and I owe him a lot.”
Michael Porter Sr. was Romar’s highest-paid assistant last season, while the younger Porter starred for Nathan Hale with Jontay, a 6-9 junior forward, and brother Coban, a 6-2 freshman guard. The Raiders, ranked the No. 1 team in the country, were coached by former UW star Brandon Roy. They went 29-0 to capture the Class 3A state championship.
Porter Jr. averaged 36.2 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.4 blocks per game. The basketball title is the first in Nathan Hale’s school history.
Jontay, a top recruit in the Class of 2018, quickly announced his decommitment from Washington after it fired Romar. He and Coban will return to Columbia with their family, too, and likely play for Tolton next year. The boys are home schooled.
Michael Jr. waited until his Gatorade Player of the Year news conference Wednesday to announce that he had requested to be released from his national letter of intent, which UW complied with.
That announcement coincided with the introductory news conference for Hopkins. The new Huskies coach said he had yet to contact Porter Sr. about re-upping his commitment with the new staff. On 710 ESPN on Friday, Hopkins reportedly said he was never able to get in touch with Porter Sr. until he had already committed to Missouri.
Porter Sr. joins the staff of Cuonzo Martin, who left California last week for the job at Missouri. Martin signed a seven-year, $21 million contract and was introduced Monday.
In the wake of Romar’s firing, reserve forward Matthew Atewe has announced his intentions to transfer and Noah Dickerson reportedly will, too. In addition to losing Michael and Jontay Porter, the Huskies lost the commitment of four-star point guard Blake Harris.
Garfield guards Jaylen Nowell and Daejon Davis declined requests to talk about whether they remain committed to UW.