The Rise of Otto Porter

Mar 15, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Georgetown Hoyas forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) walks off the court during the second half of a semifinal game of the Big East tournament against the Syracuse Orange at Madison Square Garden. Syracuse won 58-55 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Initially, it didn’t seem that Otto Porter was a highly desired recruit, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t getting recognition.

Maybe because he was from a small town (Sikeston, Missouri), played at a class 1-A high school (the classification for Missouri’s smallest school) Scott County Central, or didn’t play on the AAU circuit, but it took into his senior year for the recruiting process to really turn up.

Porter didn’t have his first in home recruiting visit until November of his senior year at Scott County Central, which was from the University of Missouri. Missouri had already offered Porter a scholarship before the visit, and were the obvious favorite to land the 6-foot-8 forward. However, Porter made it known that he would play out his senior season before selecting a school.

It was Porter’s father, Otto Sr., who kept him off the AAU circuit and trained him himself. He had Otto Jr. play with his high school teammates during the offseason, participate in skills camps and most importantly, play against family members. See, Otto Sr. was a legend at the same high school his son was attending, but the rest of his siblings and in-laws were talented athletes as well. So Otto Jr. was able to hone his skills against bigger, stronger, and more mature players and not get lost in AAU ball or not develop into the player his father knew he could.

Otto Jr. ended up winning three state championships (sophomore, junior and senior seasons) and set the record for most rebounds in a state championship game, 35, during his junior season. Thirty five is a huge number, breaking the previous record of 25, which was held by his father.

During his senior season Porter developed into a top 50 recruit and was being pursued by a plethora of teams. He ended up choosing Georgetown over Missouri and Kansas, the two major schools in his home state. Many expected him to stay close to home given his upbringing.

Porter’s freshman year as a Hoya was solid – 29.7 minutes, 9.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game.

Otto Jr. quickly became one of the best stretch forwards in the country and big things were expected of him in his sophomore season. Porter didn’t disappoint, and by mid-December of 2012 Otto was seen as a potential first round pick in the NBA Draft if he opted to enter after his sophomore season.

But Porter had a lot more to do. He singlehandedly willed Georgetown to a victory over rival Syracuse in their last trip to the Carrier Dome as Big East foes, a game he scored 33 points in, won 11 straight Big East games, and led the Hoyas to a share of a Big East championship.

Porter finished his sophomore season with 35.4 minutes, 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.9 blocks and 1.8 steals per game. Otto Jr. was the Big East Player of the Year and a first team All-American.

Otto Porter Jr. went from a little recruited prospect, to the best recruit you hadn’t heard of, to a top-50 recruit, to a Georgetown Hoya with lots of potential, to a possible first round pick, and now to a likely top-3 pick in next month’s NBA Draft lottery (the Washington Wizards are highly expected to take him at the three spot).

That’s quite the rise for Porter, a rise him and his family aren’t surprised by at all.

Topics: Basketball, Big East Conference, Georgetown Hoyas, NBA Draft, Otto Porter

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