Michael Porter Jr. is not heading to Missouri. Yet.
The nation's top high school basketball recruit was presented with the Gatorade National Player of the Year on Wednesday, joining the likes of Ben Simmons, Andrew Wiggins, Greg Oden and other top-ranked prospects to win one of the most prestigious individual honors in high school basketball.
“It’s an amazing award," Porter, a senior at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, said following the ceremony at his home. "All my friends, family, coaches were there. It’s an award I’ll never forget. It was something special.”
Though the award places him among basketball royalty and reaffirms his spot as one of the greatest prep players of all time, his father Michael Sr. and new Missouri basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin commanded just as much attention, even if Michael Sr. didn't want it and Martin wasn't even there.
“With all these things [that have] happened at Washington, that’s the question right now," Porter said of de-committing from Washington and committing Missouri. "But right now I’m just trying to take it slow with my family and weigh my options.”
The five-star forward didn't dismiss playing for the Huskies next season, though he did say he made a request for the return of his national letter of intent. He has not met with hew head coach Mike Hopkins, nor has Hopkins contacted him.
Porter was offered and aggressively pursued by nearly every program in the country before committing to Washington last summer, two months after his father accepted an assistant coaching position under Lorenzo Romar. Michael Sr. was previously an assistant on the women's staff at Missouri. And it was in Columbia that his son blossomed into a can't-miss prospect. And now it appears possible both may wind up back in Columbia.
“He has been offered an assistant coaching job but he has yet to accept it," Porter said of Martin's offer to his father. "Because obviously if he accepts it before I know if I want to go there, people are gonna expect me to follow him. He wants to be careful about that."
Michael Sr. knows Martin. His son? Not so much. If fact, he didn't know the former Cal coach's name before Martin landed at Mizzou on March 15 after three seasons at Cal.
"[My dad] said Cuonzo is a great guy. He’s a winner. He has a competitiveness to him. I’ve heard all great things about him.”
The younger Porter finally met Martin recently in Seattle when he visited to discuss the assistant job. Due to NCAA rules, Martin was unable to discuss recruiting with the prep star, only saying hello and shaking the 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward's gigantic hand.
"It’s not a for-sure thing that I would follow him wherever he goes," Michael Jr. said of his father's next coaching stop. "It does make sense if he goes to a big school. I do wanna play under my dad. It’s not him forcing me or anything. It’s just that I trust my dad. I love my dad and I wanna be close to family.”
He stopped short of naming any favorites for his college destination, only saying "it could be something real, real special to come home and do my thing there.”
Porter also has not set a date for visits or a final decision, just repeatedly stating he wishes to take his time and start over the recruiting process.