Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. announced on Monday that he is leaving college basketball to declare for the NBA draft.
He made a surprise return for Missouri’s SEC and NCAA tournament runs that resulted in first-round exits from both that led to questions over whether he made a mistake in coming back after four months on the shelf.
Porter Jr. shot 9-of-29 from the field, including 3-of-10 from three-point range in the pair of losses in his return and generally did not look like the heralded prospect the Tigers signed.
He acknowledged his struggles after a 16-point, 10-rebound performance in Missouri’s NCAA tournament loss to Florida State.
“I was asking God, ‘Please give me some extra strength to finish this second half,’ ” Porter Jr. said after the game. “It’s really tough being out there when you’re not fully confident in your body movements. That was the hardest thing.”
A 6-foot 10-inch small forward with elite athleticism and NBA-ready shooting, it seems unlikely Porter will fall out of the high lottery range because of some rust after missing significant time recovering from back surgery. Unless teams have legitimate long-term physical concerns over his back ailment, his upside is too high to leave on the draft board for long.
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