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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball Recruiting: What’s the Deal with Michael Porter Jr.?

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The nation’s top recruit faces a big decision on his future, one that could still include the Sooners.

Basketball: Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam
Former Mokan Elite teammates Michael Porter Jr. (1) and Trae Young (11) celebrate after winning the Nike Peach Jam Finals last July in South Carolina.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The firing of Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar sent ripples through the college basketball world, primarily because of what impact it’ll have on the nation’s most prized recruit and current Huskies commit — 6-10, do-it-all swingman Michael Porter Jr. from Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. The prep phenom’s father and Romar’s longtime friend, Michael Sr., was an assistant at Washington and appears to already have been offered the same position from one particular program — the University of Missouri. The Tigers ironically also made news on Wednesday by hiring Cal’s Cuonzo Martin as head coach and wasted little time in courting the Porter family to Colombia, where they lived from 2010-16 while Michael Sr. was an assistant coach for the Mizzou women’s program.

So far, however, Michael Porter Sr. has not accepted the offer from Martin and Mizzou.

Michael Porter Jr. is considered by many to be the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and is sure to electrify in his one college basketball season, wherever that may be. He has listed Oklahoma in his top five, along with Mizzou, Indiana, Virginia and Washington, and according to Doug Gottlieb, could still be considering the Sooners and playing alongside fellow McDonald’s All-American and former summer league teammate Trae Young.

Trae seems to certainly be doing his part.

A potential complication to Porter Jr.’s future is that Washington counts him as a signee despite there being some confusion as to whether or not he did sign a letter of intent.

Per SB Nation’s Mike Rutherford:

Washington explicitly stated back in November that Porter Jr. did, in fact, sign his letter of intent. The fact that the school and coaching staff have been mentioning him by name ever since would further back up the notion that Porter Jr. had put his college intentions in writing. Regardless, Washington would likely let Porter Jr. out of his LOI since it fired the coach he agreed to play for. If they refused, however, Porter Jr. might be forced to take his case to the NCAA.

There’s also another complication to the Sooners possibly stealing away the nation’s gem: the other Porter in the house, Michael’s younger brother Jontay. The 6-9 junior forward is also committed to the Huskies, but has said he is academically qualified to reclassify in the class 2017 and begin playing next season. This could point to a package deal for any school hoping to land the Porters, something OU may not have the extra scholarship available for next season.

Finally, one more factor could decide things for the Porter family — who the Huskies hire as their new head coach. Some, including me, feel it could very well be Brandon Roy, former NBA All-Star and current Nathan Hale High School coach for whom the Porter brothers starred this past season. The Porters moved from Missouri to Seattle and quickly dominated the high school scene under Roy, finishing with a 29-0 record and the top ranking in USA Today Sports Top 25. The possibility of recreating that magic with Roy at Washington could be what keeps the Porters from announcing their decision to transfer, and this could be why we haven’t heard anything yet from Michael Sr. or the brothers other than their disappointment of not playing for Romar next season.

Really hoping Dougie McBricks is right on this one...

My gut tells me that ALL three Porters end up staying committed to Washington or bouncing to Missouri. If the Hukies do reach out to a young, charismatic new head coach and hometown hero Brandon Roy to resurrect the program, it’s not inconceivable that Roy offers Michael Sr. an assistant position on his staff and with the scholarships available to bring on a reclassified Jontay Porter, the Huskies could end up keeping their star recruits and infuse the program with new life and style with the 32-year-old Roy.

But here’s to Trae Young continuing to tweet his friends in Seattle.