On July 15th, just a few days before he’d head to Valdiva, Chile for the FIBA Americas U18 tournament to compete with Team USA, top 2017 high school prospect Michael Porter verbally committed to Washington. That commitment marked the school’s recent success of landing the best high school recruits. As we saw in last month’s draft, two Washington, Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss were picked in the 1st round after strong freshmen seasons.
The success of Murray and Chriss led to more elite high school prospects looking at Washington. One of those players is Markelle Fultz, who will enter his freshman season as arguably the best guard in college basketball. To read more on Fultz, take a look at our piece on him from June.
Porter will look to follow in the foot-steps of that trio as he begins his senior year. Over the summer, Porter has had a bevy of success out in the Nike EYBL circuit with Mokan Elite. Averaging 22.8 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game on 59% shooting, Porter helped Mokan Elite to a Nike EYBL Peach Jam title. In the title game against PSA Cardinals, he put up 33 points and 6 rebounds on 12-16 from the field and 5-6 from beyond the arc.
Following that Peach Jam victory and verbal commitment to the Huskies, Porter joined fellow Washington prospect Markelle Fultz in Chile to play with Team USA’s U18 squad. During the team’s first four games, Porter has been really solid, as he averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game on 60% from the field in 19 minutes per game.
Porter’s success is mainly due to him being an athletic player that works his ass off whenever he’s on the court. That effort is especially evident on the offensive end as he seems to constantly be on the move when he’s working off-ball. Porter stands as a continued threat when he has that mindset as opponents recognize that he can just explode to the basket for an alley-oop attempt. Alongside that, he can come out of nowhere to collect an offensive board.
That work on the offensive glass might be Porter’s best ability right now, as he’s a player that combines terrific athleticism with a keen knowledge of where the missed shot is going to wind up. In 19 minutes per game, Porter has averaged 1.8 offensive boards per game, which rounds out to 3.4 offensive boards per 36 minutes. Porter’s rebounding prowess is displayed in the play below, as he seemingly comes out of nowhere to collect the offensive board.
Alongside that, Porter’s able to use that aforementioned explosiveness to be an absolute force in transition. Despite standing as a 6’10 big, Porter really moves down the court like a 6’5 wing. That’s evident whether he has the ball or not as he’s a pretty solid ball-handler. He can use that ball-handling prowess to maneuver his way past opponents as he’s driving to the rim.
An area where Porter separates himself from other elite high school power forwards is his work as a perimeter shooter. The 6’10 Porter has a pretty smooth perimeter jumper, as he has great form and finishes with a high release. While his fundamentals are solid, he hasn’t been too efficient, shooting 33% from 3 during the FIBA Americas U18 tournament. Although he’ll need to work on becoming more efficient , Porter has the solid fundamentals in tool to eventually be a solid shooter down the line.
On the defensive end, Michael Porter currently sits as a mixed bag. His 6’10 frame and fantastic athleticism gives him potential to possibly defend multiple positions or work as a help defender. However, Porter still has some lapses in his defensive game as he sometimes loses focus on the player that he’s supposed to defend against. If he’s able to fix those significant issues, Porter can be a solid defensive weapon that can use his length and athleticism to be a dangerous defender.
Whether he’s playing for Mokan Elite, Team USA or Father Tolton (school he attended as a junior), Michael Porter has continued to proven why he’s arguably the best high school player on the planet. Even before his senior season starts, Porter is a solid 6’10 forward with incredible athleticism, prowess as an offensive rebounder, knack as a cutter and solid perimeter shooting. NBA teams would drool over those skills for an NBA prospect, which is something that Porter’s two years away from becoming.
That thought of Porter having two years to progress and improve as an all-around player before stepping on an NBA court is a scary thought. Because with continued improvement, Michael Porter might end up being one of the best young talents that we’ve seen in recent memory.