Every year there are stories about a kid emerging from relative obscurity in a small town to be one of the hottest prospects in the country. In the case of Otto Porter, it's likely his deep roots in his small hometown that have made him who he is.
Walk into the Ronnie Cookson gymnasium at Scott County Central - total enrollment of 157 between grades seven and 12 - on the outskirts of Sikeston, Mo., and you are hit with some Porter family history.
Hanging on one wall is his father, Otto Sr.'s jersey. The elder Otto went on to be a high-scoring star at nearby Southeast Missouri State. Move a few spots over and there's an uncle's retired jersey. The man who the gym was named after - and who coached Porter's relatives - still sits on the bench while munching popcorn.
Next, Otto's jersey will undoubtedly hang with them. The long and skilled 6-foot-8 forward has already played on two of the school's 14 state championship teams and is working on a third.
"We always come out and play our hardest," said Porter matter-of-factly when asked why his team has experienced such success. "I'm able to get up and down the floor with my team real fast. That's like our biggest strength, getting up the court and outworking times."
Agile and quick in the open floor, Porter has long arms, gobbles up rebounds - in fact his 35 rebounds in last year's state championship broke, you guessed it, his father's record of 25 in that game - and can shoot the ball extremely well. Ask the locals, and they will tell you that he plays just like his father.
"It's God-given talent, but along with that it's practice and hard work," Porter told Rivals.com "He has a lot of (influence). I kind of play like him, but we have some differences."
Making Porter more unique is that despite being recruited heavily by high-level club teams, he skipped the spring and summer circuits. Still, the colleges have found him.
After being lightly recruited during his first three years of high school, the intensity has turned up during Porter's senior season. Of the final two he's considering, one is a team that he visited officially during the fall, Missouri. The other, Georgetown, Porter has yet to visit.
Not surprisingly, the current four-star prospect says that distance could play a big factor.
"I've thought about it some," said the No. 97 player in the 2011 Rivals150. "It is a big factor, whether I'm out of state or in state. It just depends on how close I'm going to be to my family basically."
With a month or so left in his senior year, Porter is looking forward to a strong finish.
As it turns out, his small town has turned him into a player that the basketball world sought out. Porter's ranking will surely climb in the final Rivals150 and he's been invited to the Jordan Brand All-American game.
"It gives a lot of advantages," finished Porter about his upbringing as a player. "I didn't get the exposure real soon, but I was able to help my game."