Now it’s official. Michael Porter Jr. signed his financial aid agreement to play basketball at Missouri next season, the school announced Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA's spring signing period.
The No. 1-ranked high school player in the country gave Mizzou a verbal commitment on March 24. The 6-10 small forward lived in Columbia from 2010-16 then played his senior season at Nathan Hale High in Seattle where his father was an assistant coach at the University of Washington. Last month, Michael Porter Sr. was the first assistant hired by new Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martini and Porter Jr. soon followed. Porter Jr. signed a national letter of intent with Washington in November and was released from his NLI after the school fired coach Lorenzo Romar.
"Mizzou is my home," said Porter Jr., who's in Brooklyn, N.Y., for Thursday's Jordan Brand Classic all-star game. "I lived in Columbia from fifth grade all the way until my senior year of high school. That place has shown me so much love. And I want to give back to that. I want to get Mizzou basketball back to the atmosphere I know it can be.”
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"It goes without saying, but Michael is a special player and a special person,” Cuonzo Martin said. “Michael comes to the Mizzou family from a great family of his own, and our basketball program is thrilled to have a student-athlete with his character, drive and passion. Lisa and Michael Porter, Sr., raised Michael well. He is continually motivated to give and is always striving to be a great teammate.
“Most of all, welcome home to Michael. Mizzou is a special place and Columbia is a community that already knows him well. I’m looking forward to Michael representing Mizzou well, on and off the court and in the classroom, and I’m sure he looks forward to it, as well.”
"Coach Martin is such a normal, humble guy," Porter added. "I can't wait to play for him. He wants to put me in the best possible situations to succeed. As a player, you can really tell he is a guy that wants his players to be great, see them do well and make it to the next level.
"Mizzou fans and people in Columbia know me. I'll be around town. I'm a friendly guy. On the court, I'm not as much of a friendly guy. You've got to dial it in, then. But just me? I’m fun.”
As a senior in Seattle, Porter averaged 36.2 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. He became the first player named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, Naismith Award National Player of the Year and McDonald’s All-American Game MVP since Dwight Howard in 2004. The only other player to sweep all three honors were LeBron James (2003), Chris Webber (1991) and Alonzo Mourning (1988). As a junior at Father Tolton High in Columbia Porter averaged averaged 28.5 points and 11.8 rebounds and led the school to the Class 3 state championship.
Porter took his official recruiting visit to Mizzou last weekend along with North Carolina point guard Blake Harris and five-star Tampa small forward Kevin Knox. Harris, a former Washington signee like Porter, committed to Mizzou after the visit. Harris said he planned to sign his financial aid agreement later this month. Knox will decide between finalists Duke, Florida State, Kentucky, Missouri and North Carolina.
Mizzou now has two players signed for 2017-18: Porter and C.J. Roberts, a four-star guard from Dallas.