Jontay Porter declares for NBA draft, leaves possibility open to return to Missouri

Porter won’t hire an agent, leaving him until May 30 to finalize his decision.
Jontay Porter boxes out Kansas guard Lagerald Vick on Oct. 22 during the Showdown for Relief.

Jontay Porter declared for the 2018 NBA draft in a statement released by the Missouri basketball team via Twitter on Thursday afternoon.

Porter, 18, made himself available to be drafted after just one season at Missouri, similarly to his older brother, Michael. The younger Porter’s declaration comes with a catch, though; he, unlike his brother, has elected not to hire an agent. This leaves the door open for him to potentially return to Missouri for his sophomore season.

“While I am not making any final decisions at this point, I am not hiring an agent, and will be diligent in complying with all NCAA rules to ensure that I maintain my eligibility to compete at the NCAA level for Mizzou in the future, [but] I am going to declare for the NBA Draft,” Porter said in the statement. “This will allow me to evaluate my status with NBA teams, so that I can make a fully educated decision on my future.”

As an underclassman, Porter has until May 30 to make a final decision on whether to return to Missouri for his sophomore season and retain eligibility with the NCAA.

Porter was named to the Southeastern Conference all-freshman team this season and was honored as the SEC’s co-sixth man of the year. He averaged 9.9 points, 1.7 blocks and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds per game coming off the bench in his lone season as a Missouri Tiger.

Porter reclassified to the high school class of 2017 last July to make himself eligible to play alongside his brother for Missouri a year early.

Now, he will be eligible to participate in the NBA scouting combine in May ahead of the June 21 draft. Porter’s decision to not hire an agent is likely so he can participate in private workouts for various teams and better assess his draft stock before cementing whether or not his collegiate career is over. Right now, Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey projects Porter going at the 22nd overall pick, a late first-round expectation that is reflected by the majority of other mock drafts. NBAdraft.net projects him being picked 24th.

A year ago, over a hundred college underclassmen declared for the NBA draft. 53.2 percent of them ultimately returned to school.

If Porter goes through with his declaration for the draft, Missouri will have three open scholarships to give ahead of the 2018-19 season, with nine already filled and another waiting for Xavier Pinson, a three-star recruit out of Chicago. The spring signing period for basketball players begins April 11.

“I have loved everything about my experience, on and off the court, as a member of the Mizzou family, but have always dreamed of playing in the NBA,” Porter said in the statement. “I am excited for this opportunity and appreciate the continued support from Mizzou nation throughout this process.”

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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