In my third post for Rock M Nation, on June 5th, 2014, I mentioned the possibility of Missouri landing an elite prospect named Michael Porter Jr. Over four years that followed, we published 4,000 follow up posts — give or take — talking about the potential (or in a lot of cases the lack thereof) for Missouri to land Porter. Then he committed to Washington, and we kinda stopped.
But then a fortunate series of events unfolded, delivering a generational talent to Missouri — a process so wild that most MU fans had an out-of-body experience just thinking about the renaissance he was about to impose on Tigers basketball.
Then the rug was pulled out from underneath us all: the star forward got hurt.
The news cycle continued, however.
Every day we asked if he would play. Then he did. It didn’t go well.
Then he declared for the draft, despite some people trying to convince themselves he might come back. He fell in the draft but was still a lottery pick and landed in Denver.
We’ll never completely stop paying attention because once a Tiger always a Tiger, right?
The saga is over. Michael Porter Jr. is a Nugget and As the Porters Turn marches on in Columbia without him. Now it’s just the Jontay Porter and Michael Sr. as the central players. Sure, Coban Porter and the rest of the crew are still around, but the initial progeny has left and the news cycle is, well... it’s quiet.
MPJ kept us busy for years, and especially over the last one.
Now that it’s over, where do we go for news?
With MPJ there was always some scrap of news to parse or a hypothetical to assess. Now, that’s not uncommon. Elite recruits exert control over a news cycle. It’s just exacerbated when that program is Mizzou. Now add the multiplying factor of Porter playing in his hometown and a season-long saga as to whether he’ll set foot on the floor. It was an all-too-perfect storm of curiosity of the internet and white-hot heat of the media spotlight to let up at any point during MPJ’s time in college.
And with his teasing posts on social media, Porter made sure that spotlight had steady wattage. It kept Missouri, a fringe NCAA team, in the national conversation as well due to speculation on when we might see MPJ play again.
I’m sure some are happy to return to a level of normalcy. Missouri has a chance to be good again next season. They’re returning several players who played prominent roles in last years team, including a sure first NBA player in Jontay Porter.
Is this Jontay’s team now?
Jontay, the quiet unassuming and humble younger brother, is used to playing in his brother’s shadow. Even as he blossomed last year, he was still primarily viewed as a sidekick if Michael returned. Michael still dominated the headlines. Jontay stuffed the stat-lines.
With his brother having moved on to Denver and the fertile financial ground of the NBA, Jontay is the most talented player left on the Missouri roster. But Jontay doesn’t command the attention off the court the way his brother does. So while he’s like to lead Missouri in many categories next year, his lack of flash will make it easy to overlook him.
The news cycle is dying a bit as we shift out of MPJ mode, and into Jontay mode — one more reflective of the latter’s reserved personality. Low key, quiet, humble, inquisitive. Those traits define Jontay, and given the transition confronting MU this offseason, keeping the murmurs around the program to a dull roar is probably a win.
It’s crazy that this is even a valid question.. but who wins??— Jontay Porter (@JontayPorter) July 3, 2018