Michael Porter Jr. is now a former Missouri basketball player.
Three days after he announced that he was declaring for the NBA draft on his Instagram account, Porter used the same social-media platform to announce that he was signing with Priority Sports.
Priority Sports is a Chicago-based sports agency that was founded by Mark Bartelstein in 1985 and represents St. Louis native Bradley Beal along with Gordon Hayward, Miles Plumlee and former Missouri basketball player DeMarre Carroll.
That signature means Porter, who played just 53 minutes in his time at Missouri and averaged 10 points and 6.7 rebounds, can’t return to play for Missouri next season.
The NBA allows underclassmen to test the draft waters, but if they sign with an agent, their eligibility is forfeited. Players who don’t sign with an agent have until May 30 to withdraw from the draft and retain their eligibility.
While Porter, who is a projected top-10 pick in the 2018 draft, has forfeited his eligibility, his brother, Jontay Porter, has not yet. Jontay Porter, who averaged 9.9 points and 6.8 rebounds and was Co-Southeastern Conference Sixth Man of the Year, has not yet made an announcement on his draft status.
After the team’s 67-54 loss to Florida State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Jontay Porter said he would take time to discuss his decision with his family.
“I just heard different people telling me about mock drafts and whatnot. I have a lot of things to weigh in,” Jontay said. “I took as long as I could for the reclassify decision, so I’d imagine it will be a long process before I decided.”
Jontay Porter will have until April 22 to make his decision.
For now, Michael Porter is the only Tigers player declaring for the NBA draft. He is athletic director Jim Sterk’s first one-and-done basketball player.
Sterk, who was the athletic director at San Diego State when Kawhi Leonard declared for the NBA draft in 2011 after his sophomore year, met with a few local media members Thursday and said he is in favor of the “baseball rule,” in college basketball.
The “baseball rule” gives athletes the option to enter the MLB draft out of high school, but if they choose to go to a four-year college, they can’t declare for the draft until their junior year or they turn 21.
Sterk’s opinion is less about the basketball program and more about the player’s academics, he said.
“It’s not a good situation for anybody to be forced into a year of playing,” Sterk said. “I think with three years, then the student athlete gets the chance to progress towards a degree. They are pretty close by the end of three years, because they go to summer school and take classes. Some would even have degrees by that time. That gives them something that can help them the rest of their life beyond basketball.”
Michael Porter Jr.'s departure leaves Missouri with two open scholarships for the 2018 recruiting class, with three signees and one unsigned commitment in Simeon Career Academy point guard Xavier Pinson.