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Michael Porter Jr. released from his National of Letter of Intent with Washington

Porter Jr. also confirmed his father had been offered a position on Cuonzo Martin’s staff at Missouri.

Basketball: Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE, March 23: Porter has indeed been released from his LOI.

Michael Porter Jr. held a press conference today where he revealed he had asked out of the National Letter of Intent he’d signed with Washington and expects it to be granted soon. Porter Jr. says he has not met with new head coach Mike Hopkins, but expects he will before he’s released. Washington’s AD Jen Cohen has stated any signed recruit who meets Hopkins and no longer wants to come to UW will be granted a release from his letter.

Hopkins has already announced his new coaching staff and Porter Sr. is not being retained. A side-note: Hopkins will be bringing on Tim O’Toole who was one of three assistants under Cuonzo Martin at California.

Two other Washington commits, point guard Blake Harris and 2018 forward Jontay Porter have both already asked out of their NLIs. Harris has been granted his release, while Jontay has announced he is re-opening his recruitment after decommitting last week.

National Letters of Intent

There’s been a lot of confusion about whether or not a National Letter of Intent had been signed and what happens when a player asks out of one. This article about a similar situation with Al Durham asking out of his NLI from Indiana after the Hoosiers fired coach Tom Crean explains,

If IU grants Durham a complete release from his NLI, the NCAA would waive the penalty of sitting out one year of competition. If IU does not grant the release, he can still transfer schools but he would have to sit out a year and would lose a season of eligibility.

While a signee is bound to a NLI, other schools are not allowed to recruit them. So asking for a release can be an effort to reopen a recruitment.

IU has 30 days to respond to the request. It can grant Durham a release, not grant him a release, or simply remove the recruiting ban to allow him to be recruited.

In summary, if Washington grants a complete release from NLI, the NCAA would waive the one year "sit out" penalty. Until the release is granted, other schools are not allowed to contact recruits who have signed an NLI. Washington has 30 days to respond to the request for release, putting their deadline right after the late signing window reopens April 12 -May 17.

Michael Porter Sr.’s Missouri job offer

The #1 overall high school prospect in the country confirmed reports that his father, Michael Porter Sr. had been offered a job at Missouri, but added he had “no idea” who Cuonzo Martin was before he took the Tiger’s head coaching job. He told the media they did shake hands when Martin and Michael Porter Sr. met to discuss the assistant coaching position but, for NCAA compliance reasons, did not discuss his recruitment.

Asked about coach Martin, Porter Jr. said: “I didn't know his name before he went to Mizzou, but once he went there, I saw it all over social media. It turns out coach Romar knew him really well, and my dad knows who he was, and my dad went to meet with him. And I trust my dad. He said Cuonzo's a great guy, he's a winner, he has a competitiveness to him, so I've heard all great things about him.”

Earlier this week I did some research with regards to Missouri’s $1.1 million dollar assistant coaching salary pool.

Exact, current numbers are hard to find so bear with me. Remember that in addition to the three assistant coaching positions, Missouri will need to hire a Director of Basketball Operations, Director of Video Operations and a Strength and Conditioning coach from that pool of $1.1 million.

Take the high numbers from these three and you have $701k in 3 assistant coaches, leaving ~399k to work with.

According to my research, in 2016 Missouri paid

  • Steve Shields – $175k
  • Emanuel Dildy – $160k
  • Rob Fulford – $160k
  • Brad Loos (served as a special assistant to HC) – $160k
  • Nick Michael (S&C) – $95k
  • Paul Rorvig (DBO) – $80k

Added up, Missouri paid the assistants about $830k last year. That’s just $130k more for the entire 6. If the salaries for the three new non-bench coaches (DBO, DVO, S&C) are approximately the same there’s about 64k of wiggle room (but keep in mind many of the contracts come with stipends for travel and housing).

By comparison, Florida head coach Mike White signed a deal in 2015 which paid him $2 million annually. His assistants make:

  • Dusty May: $340,000
  • Jordan Mincy: $185,000
  • Darris Nichols: $165,000.

That’s a total of $690k for three assistants.

Additionally, since Oklahoma has re-entered the picture and questions about if Lon Kruger’s Sooners would try and bring the Sr. Porter on to his staff in order to secure Jr.’s commitment, this article from 2015 lists their assistant coaching salaries.

  • Chris Crutchfield – $200,250
  • Steve Henson – $200,250
  • Lewis Hill – $200,250

That would appear to be a pool of $600k for assistants, significantly lower than what Missouri is willing to use to fill out Cuonzo Martin’s staff.

Take all of this with a grain of salt of course since the sourcing and details are inexact.

Michael Porter Jr.’s Recruitment reopens

The prized recruit did have positive things to say about Missouri, among the other three schools he’ll consider.

“That’s home for me and they reached out to my dad with a job offer so if he accepts that, not saying I’ll definitely go there, but it’d be big.”

Neither’s decision to come to Missouri has been finalized, nor is it a done deal they are a package. Porter Jr. mentioned he is “definitely looking” at playing with former Mokan Elite AAU teammate Trae Young at Oklahoma. Young recently committed to Oklahoma but has not yet signed his National Letter of Intent — a reminder that blue-blood recruits should NEVER sign a NLI.

There’s also “nothing stopping” Michael Porter Jr. from staying a second year to play with his brother, Jontay, if the younger Porter does not re-classify into the 2017 class. There has been talk of Jontay reclassifying up a year in order to play with his older brother, a likely top 3 pick in the 2018 NBA draft.

Michael Porter Jr. played a year in Seattle, Washington with his brothers Jontay and Coban, winning a state championship for previously downtrod Nathan Hale. He was pretty good there.

Porter Jr., who averaged 36.2 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists. 3.2 steals and 2.7 blocks per game for Nathan Hale High in Seattle as a senior last season, said he doesn’t plan to drag out an announcement on his future.

Michael Porter Jr. was named Gatorade National Boys Player of the Year today too.

The last signing day is April 12, 2017-May 17, 2017 but we may get another glimpse at the Tiger’s top recruit at the McDonald’s All-American game on March 29th at the United Center in Chicago.