Five-star Porter dazzles in Kansas City
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- For the second-straight night, 2017 five-star wing
Michael Porter lit it up at the KC Hardwood Classic. There were also a handful of notable performances by some young prospects that made Friday eventful.
All eyes were on Michael Porter as he stood with the ball on the left wing. The possibilities were seemingly endless. The moment was there for the taking.
First he thought about taking the shot, but he pulled back. Then he thought about driving left to the basket before pulling back again. Each jab step was a calculation; a signal to the depth in which the talented prospect had the game wrapped around his finger, and the packed Shawnee Mission South gymnasium full of many familiar faces anxiously awaited
It didn't take long, though. Porter, the No. 2-ranked player in 2017, is too
good to sit there and wait. So when it was time, he let his first and only
3-point attempt of the game fly and no one was surprised by the result.
"I'm confident in my jumper," the five-star prospect said. "Yeah, I'm pretty confident in my jumper."
That shot late in the second half was far from significant in the game -- Mokan Elite 17s easily handled SABO Gold 17s, 69-45
-- but it was a perfect example as to how dominant Porter was Friday night at the KC Hardwood Classic.
Following a stellar performance the night before, Porter dropped 26 points on
10-for-17 shooting, including 5-for-6 from the free throw line, with 11
rebounds. He made it look effortless, but it was an impressive performance.
"I'm really just playing within myself. I feel like I know what I can do and I don't feel like anybody can guard me one-on-one," Porter said. "And then I'm running the floor. Trae (Young) and the guards are finding me in transition and that's easy buckets as well so I'm really focused in."
For much of the night, Porter played above the rim. He caught multiple lobs with either one or both hands, and finished plays, either in the offense or in transition, with emphatic dunks. Although he has a smooth jump shot, which was on display Thursday, it wasn't needed on this night.
"I really just wanted to show that I've grown into a complete player," he noted.
PPorter just did that in front of a hefty audience of college coaches, headlined by
Kentucky head coach John Calipari, and many other top assistants. But as far as the programs in contact on a daily basis, the 6-foot-8 versatile wing listed
Virginia among the many.
The plan is still the same. At the end of the summer, Porter will cut his list down to 10 with the hope of making his final decision by this time next year. And in the meantime, Porter will attended
Kansas' Late Night in the Phog event this fall and is hopeful to attend several college games across the country.
There also might be one more plan in place: to play in college with Mokan teammate Trae Young, the No. 28-ranked prospect in 2017.
"We love playing with each other," Porter said while Young stood nearby. "The chemistry is there, and we're best friends off the court as well. We really enjoy it."
As for them being a package deal?
"Yeah, hopefully," Porter admitted.
That's just one more thing to keep tabs on each time Porter is around because there is no telling what might happen next.
What can Brown do for you?
The look on his face told the whole story. Clevon Brown was noticeably frustrated as he sat on the bench Friday night at the KC Hardwood Classic, yet there was nothing he could do about it.
Earlier in the day, a strong contingent of coaches sat courtside to catch a glimpse of the 2016 prospect. So many of them had already offered. Many others were looking on with curious interest of the 6-foot-7 forward playing for Texas-based SABO. Unfortunately, the vast majority never saw the three-star prospect as an unspecified leg injury less than five minutes into his first game of the day sidelined him for the rest of the night.
Yes, Brown, who boosted his stock with high-major offers all summer by playing his game and proving he was more than just a post-up player, was disappointed, and understandably so.
"I'm glad everything happened," he said of his summer. "I'm blessed and thankful for it, but I really wish I could have finished it out this weekend."
It was far from an ideal situation, no doubt, but it didn't completely wash away the hard work that put him in that position. Brown, the San Antonio native, still holds a solid list of offers and said
"I'm looking for a school that's the best fit for me, has good academics, and will help me improve my game even more," he said.
Brown will evaluate his options, shorten his list, and schedule visits in the coming weeks. He enters that process without any favorites or sure-visits in mind, while also understanding it might have been completely different if he had been able to play.
Although the line of coaches was honed in on Bamba, the gathering gave two of his PSA Cardinals teammates a chance to prove where they belong at the next level. The first of the two was Hasahn FrenchClick Another game at the KC Hardwood Classic was an additional chance for five-star center Mohamed BambaClick News and NotesHere to view this Link., the No. 4-ranked prospect for 2017, to be a dominant force. And with several new coaches on hand, including Kentucky's John Calipari, many inside the gym thought they might be in for a mid-afternoon treat. Instead, that wasn't necessarily the case. Sure, there were some nice plays and big blocks, but it was far from the norm some were expecting. It's the end of a long summer so give the 6-foot-11 center some benefit of the doubt. It was just a missed opportunity.Here to view this Link., a 6-foot-7 thick power forward with offers from
Nebraska, among others. French is a strong rebounder that can finish down on the block, but he's not the typical bruiser because he runs relatively well and can put it on the deck to drive to the basket. The other one is Najja Hunter, a 6-foot-6 wing with offers from the likes of
T.J. MossClick Temple and Seton Hall, among others. His offensive game needs some work, but he can be a disruptive defender with his long arms. By no means did either truly standout, but they certainly gave steady flashes of what they can bring to the table.Here to view this Link. is an intriguing prospect that showed a little bit of everything, both good and some not so good. At 6-foot-4, the 2018 wing from Team Penny is rather skinny, but is very athletic and has nice range from the outside. He made a handful of shots from deep and passed the ball pretty well in the open floor, which makes you see why he has offers from
Connecticut, Memphis, Ole Miss and UT-Martin. However, playing against the PSA Cardinal 16s, a squad with great size and length, Moss was quiet at times throughout the game and wasn't in a great rhythm. He's still young and has plenty of time to develop, but there's a lot to like, particularly athletically, moving forward if he becomes more consistent against bigger defenders.
It was definitely a surprise to see
Oklahoma commit Kristian Doolittle at the KC Hardwood Classic, but that's not to say it wasn't a pleasant one. The Rivals150 forward for 2016, who normally plays for Athlete's First, suited up for the Oklahoma Wizards 17U, and it was pretty fun to watch. Oftentimes the biggest player on the court, the 6-foot-6, 200-pounder still handled the ball and used his athleticism to attack the basket with ease most of the time, while also posting up a couple of times and scoring in the lane. Doolittle was also effective on the defensive end when opponents from the STL Majestic 17's drove into the lane. What also made it fun was watching the scrappy guard play from teammates
No player on the St. Louis Eagles 15U squad was overly impressive Friday morning at the Jayhawk Summer Finale, but there is a host of 2018 prospects that showed glimpses of potential for down the road, including shooting guard Fred ThatchClick Edward ChangClick There are young prospects playing up in age and competition, and then there's Maxwell Lorca-LloydClick Elyjah Clark and Darius Roy, who both hold offers from Mercer, alongside him. Again, it was a nice surprise to stumble into. Here to view this Link.. A 6-foot-8 forward in the class of 2019, Lorca-Lloyd is playing with the PSA Cardinal's 17 squad this weekend. That's right, a prospect that has never walked the halls of high school is going up against some of the oldest players in the KC Hardwood Classic. Make no mistake about it, though, Lorca-Lloyd is far from out of place. With a 7-foot-2 wingspan and good motor, the young kid blocked a number of shots and looks like he belongs running up and down the floor. Of course his body needs to develop to fully compete full-time and his offensive game needs a lot of polishing at that level, but there's no doubt he's a name to remember for future reference.Here to view this Link. is incredibly long and has a nice touch on his mid-range jumper. Those are probably the first two things anyone notices in watching the young 2018 prospect for Mokan Elite 15s. In catching the last few minutes of his game, there was no shortage of that to see. At 6-foot-7, and definitely thin, Chang can run the floor well and is confident to rise up and shoot when he catches the ball at the high post. He was also active on the defensive end, too, and his skill set is perhaps the reason why an Iowa assistant was watching the game.Here to view this Link. and forward
Jericole Hellemens. At 6-foot-3, Thatch, who holds an offer from Missouri, is rather developed physically with a strong frame, which he uses well at times to take the ball to hole, and has the ability to knock down open shots from the outside. Hellems, on the other hand, does well using his 6-foot-6 frame with long arms to get shots up over defenders and score. Both did fairly well against the zone of Howard Pulley 16s, and could get some looks from programs if they continue to improve.