Column: How much will Michael Porter Jr.’s one season at Missouri affect the future of the basketball program?

After MPJ’s year in Columbia, the Tigers should expect an immediate turnaround for the program.

Michael Porter Jr. speaks to the media on Sept. 29, 2017 during Mizzou Basketball media day.

Michael Porter Jr.’s career as a Tiger is only expected to last one season, but the Columbia native could have a lasting impact on the Missouri basketball program.

With the season approaching, Missouri basketball fans are getting more excited by the day as they expect a tremendous season from Porter Jr. and his strong supporting cast.

According to OddsShark, the Tigers’ odds to win the 2018 NCAA Tournament sit at +2000, tied for the sixth-best prediction in the nation. These odds come as a considerable upgrade from last season, in which the Tigers had opening odds to win the NCAA Tournament of 500-1, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

While all of the hype surrounding Porter Jr. is exciting, Mizzou fans should also be looking at the state of the program after MPJ’s time is done.

When looking at the potential effect of the culture shift in the Missouri basketball program, the closest resemblance in recent years is Johnny Manziel and Kevin Sumlin’s culture shift at Texas A&M after the school’s move to the SEC from the Big 12 five years ago.

In the five years before Manziel and Sumlin took over in College Station, the Aggies’ recruitment classes averaged a national ranking of 27th and an average recruit rating of .8628, according to 247Sports. Then, Johnny Football was born as Manziel won the Heisman Trophy and led the Aggies to an 11-2 season in 2012. In the five years since that season, the Aggies average a nationally ranked recruiting class of 11th and an average recruit rating of .8917, via 247Sports.

Furthermore, the high-level recruiting by Sumlin has led to a significant jump in the win/loss column. In the five seasons before the rise of Johnny Football, the Aggies had a record of 33-31 (.516). In contrast, in their five seasons in the SEC, the Aggies have a record of 44-21 (.677), even in a more competitive conference.

A similar effect might be in the Tigers’ future with the addition of not only Porter Jr. but also head coach Cuonzo Martin. The Tigers’ five most recent recruiting classes before Porter Jr.’s averaged a national ranking of 40th in the country, according to 247Sports. Also, 18 players have transferred from Missouri in the last four years, including four four-star recruits.

As for the 2017 recruiting class, the combination of Porter Jr, Jontay Porter, Jeremiah Tilmon, C.J. Roberts and Blake Harris made for the fourth-best recruiting class in 247Sports’ national rankings. Since at least some of the 2017 recruiting class is likely to stay with the Tigers for multiple seasons, the Tigers could experience a lot more loyalty to the black and gold for at least two or three seasons.

The Tigers have already landed four-star recruit Torrence Watson in the class of 2018.

If the Tigers can meet or even exceed their astronomical expectations going into the 2017-18 season, the program should anticipate a spike in high-caliber talent committing to play in Columbia. The departure of Porter Jr. shouldn’t be much of a deterrent either, as Jontay Porter and Tilmon will most likely play for Missouri until it is time to declare for the 2019 draft.

The combination of Manziel, Mike Evans and Sumlin was enough to cement Texas A&M football into the yearly SEC contender that it is today. There is no reason why the combination of Porter Jr., Jontay Porter and Martin can’t do the same for Missouri basketball.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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