COLUMBIA, MO – Mizzou men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin only got to coach Michael Porter Jr. in three college games. But after watching Porter excel this summer in the NBA “bubble”, Martin said Porter Jr. is elite on the offensive end.
“He’s a guy who can really score the basketball,” Martin said. “He’s a threat to score every time down, that’s what makes him dangerous.”
Speaking to the media on Wednesday after Mizzou Men’s Basketball opened preseason practice, Martin also praised the former Mizzou star for his desire to play the game.
“Michael Porter Jr. is a guy that if he was not getting paid to play basketball, he’d find a place to play basketball,” Martin said. “It’s his passion, it’s his life.”
Martin said Porter Jr. is always trying to find a court to play on, even in his time off. Porter Jr. and his brother Jontay Porter visited their former coach last week to try and get in a workout.
“He wanted to play some five-on-five, and man that’s like you just left the bubble,” Martin said. “But that’s what’s in him, he loves to play basketball.”
But injuries kept Porter Jr. off the hardwood most of his time at Mizzou. He got hurt two minutes into his college debut during the 2017 season opener against Iowa State. After a back surgery, he returned of the team for its final two games of the season against Georgia and Florida State before declaring for the NBA Draft.
“It’s just a shame for Mizzou fans, didn’t get a chance to see the way he scores the ball at a high level,” Martin said.
Porter Jr. played in all 19 of Denver’s playoff games in its run to the Western Conference Finals. The NBA named him to the All-Bubble Second Team after averaging 22 points and 8.6 rebounds in the eight seeding games.