Porter goes undrafted, cannot return to NCAA

The 19-year-old tore was sidelined this season with a combo of ligament tears.
Sophomore forward Jontay Porter talks with members of the media before a practice on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at Mizzou Arena.

When the 2019 NBA Draft concluded shortly before midnight on Thursday, 60 players had found new homes to continue their basketball careers.

Jontay Porter was not one of them.

“I think first and foremost is giving Jontay comfort and allowing him the time to have peace of mind to decide what he wants to do going forward,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said in a teleconference Friday morning.

After withdrawing from the 2018 NBA Draft in which his brother, Michael Porter Jr., was selected as the No. 14 pick in the first round by the Denver Nuggets, Jontay Porter decided to return for his sophomore season with Missouri.

That sophomore season never happened, as Porter tore his ACL and MCL during a scrimmage against Southern Illinois University prior to the start of the season.

Despite the injury, many did not expect Porter’s draft status to change. Lorenzo Romar, former University of Washington coach and longtime friend of the Porter family, compared Porter’s situation to the likes of Nerlens Noel and Kyrie Irving. Both suffered ligament injuries that sidelined them for the majority of their freshman seasons, and both remained first round picks in their respective NBA Draft classes.

However, Porter re-tore his ACL in March on the court in Denver, Colorado, where he was doing rehab on the court. Porter still declared for the draft in April, and he attended the NBA Combine in May to meet with teams.

Final draft projections from CBS had Porter going to the Miami Heat as the No. 14 pick in Round 2. Bol Bol, a 7-foot center from Oregon, was taken instead.

“Of course if [Jontay’s] healthy, in my opinion he’s a lottery pick,” Martin said. “From a basketball standpoint, he understands the game, he knows how to play the game, he has a great feel for the game. He’s a good person, he’s a good locker room guy. So he has all those qualities.”

Even with a proposed rule change allowing undrafted underclassmen to return to the NCAA, Porter cannot return to Missouri for a redshirt sophomore season. There were 233 underclassmen who declared for this year’s draft.

No announcement has been made about whether Porter has or will be signing with an NBA team.

Edited by Leah Glasser | lglasser@themaneater.com

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