Missouri’s Michael Porter, Jr. declaring for NBA draft

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It only lasted 53 minutes, but Michael Porter, Jr.’s college career is over.

The Missouri freshman will declare for the NBA Draft, where he is expected to be a top-five pick, it was announced Monday.

It’s been a foregone conclusion for years that Porter, Jr. would spend just one year in college as he’s long been considered a potential No. 1 pick given his skill set coupled with his 6-foot-10 frame. Still, his college career was much less than anticipated.

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Porter, Jr. played just minutes in his collegiate debut against Iowa State before coming out with what would later be diagnosed as a back injury requiring surgery. He did not return to the floor until the Tigers’ SEC tournament opener against Georgia, which they lost, and then played his final game in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Florida State, which beat Missouri.

So all tallied up, Porter, Jr. appeared in three games, went 1-2, scored 30 points and collected 20 rebounds.

It was a shame to see such a talented player sidelined not just because it deprived college basketball of such a star, but also because it robbed Porter, Jr. of a truly unique situation. His father was on the coaching staff, his brother was a teammate and Columbia, Mo. is his hometown. If Porter, Jr. would have been healthy all year, there’s no telling what kind of special season the Tigers could have enjoyed considering his immense talent.

It was a lost year for Porter, Missouri and the country.