History is littered with famous brothers. Cain and Abel, the Kennedys, the Wright brothers and the Wayans brothers are a few DNA-sharing siblings that come to mind. For Mizzou basketball, however, the most esteemed brothers in recent history are Simeon and Sammie Haley (aka Slim and Slam) or Phil and Matt Pressey. That’s all about to change.
Cuonzo Martin’s Missouri Tigers, which already boasted a top-10 recruiting class for 2017, added a five-star cherry on top when Jontay Porter announced his decision to reclassify from the Class of 2018 into the Class of 2017. Porter will join his older brother, Michael Porter Jr. in Columbia, where the Porters led Father Tolton Catholic High School to a state championship in 2016.
“Mizzou is home, so first of all, I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity to attend the University of Missouri,” Jontay Porter said via press release. “Coach Martin and his staff are awesome, and they are definitely one of the things I look forward to most about playing for Mizzou.
The early addition of Jontay Porter vaulted the Tigers recruiting class into the No. 4 spot, behind Duke, Kentucky and Arizona according to rankings by ESPN.com and 247Sports.com. That makes the incoming class the highest-rated Mizzou class in history.
Go ahead, rename Mizzou Arena the Porter House. The future stake of the Tigers rests in the Porters hands.
After all, Michael Jr. and Jontay’s sisters, Cierra and Bri Porter will againsuit up for the women’s basketball team. Their father, Michael Porter Sr., is an assistant coach for the men’s team. There’s no question as to who is the first family is Mizzou hoops.
The big question now is, whether Jontay and Michael Porter Jr. can live up to the hype. The Tigers finished 8-24 last season. Under normal situations, a trip to the NIT would be a huge step forward for a program with only eight wins. With the Porter hype-train in full stride, anything less than an NCAA Tournament berth would be considered a major disappointment.
The Porter brothers, coming off an undefeated season and mythical national championship at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, won’t be satisfied with a berth to the NCAA Tournament. In June, Michael Porter Jr. told ESPN that his goal is to make it all the way to a Final Four, a place the Tigers have never reached.
"I'm not even looking at the NCAA tournament," Michael Porter Jr. told ESPN. "I'm looking past that. I want to bring this team back to a Final Four, national championship-caliber level. I think we're going to surprise people."
In a remarkable feat, Martin was able to upgrade nearly every position with additions of the Porters, four-star signees Jeremiah Tilmon and Blake Harris, three-star guard C.J. Roberts and graduate transfer Kassius Robertson, who averaged 16.1 points per game last season for Canisius.
Size shouldn’t be a problem for the previously undersized Tigers. Michael Porter Jr. is listed at 6-foot-10, 215 pounds. Jontay Porter is an imposing 6-foot-11, 240 pounds. Tilmon stands at 6-foot-10 and 252 pounds. Sophomore forward Mitchell Smith might as well be an incoming recruit, as the 6-foot-10, 215-pound forward was lost to a season-ending knee injury just 11 games into the 2016-17 season.
Despite their impressive size, both Porter brothers bring the ability to handle, shoot, pass and rebound the basketball. How long they will put those traits on display in Columbia remains to be seen. Michael Porter Jr. is widely accepted to be a one-and-done, with a chance to be the No. 1 selection in next year’s NBA Draft.
Many expect Jontay Porter to stay around for a few seasons. However, skilled bigs often find a way to shoot up the draft boards. Though the NBA currently sports a minimum age of 19-years-old, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently told FS1’s Colin Cowherd, "I'm rethinking our position."
If the NBA drops the draft-eligible age back to 18-years-old before next season’s draft, Jontay Porter, who will turn 18 in Nov., could join his brother on the next level earlier than anybody anticipated. For that reason, Mizzou fans need to enjoy the Porters while they are here. The super siblings could vanish as fast as they appeared.
They’ve already brought Mizzou back to respectability without even playing a game. Now it’s time to bring some wins.
T.D. over T.O. and Bruce?
Terrell Davis was a wonderful NFL running back. In seven seasons, he amassed 7607 rushing yards, 70 TDs and 1280 receiving yards. He was also named NFL MVP in 1998. However, Davis’ career was cut short to injuries and he ranks just 55th in career rushing yards. Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile two of the greatest wide receivers of all-time are left on the outside-looking-in because the Pro Football Hall of Fame hates wide receivers.
Terrell Owens’ 15,934 receiving yards rank him second in the history of the game, behind Jerry Rice. Isaac Bruce’s 15,208 yards rank him fourth all-time behind Rice, Owens and Randy Moss (who will be HOF eligible for the first-time in 2018).
How can voters exclude two of the game’s top-five receivers in terms of production but vote in a player who ranks 55th at his position? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
What’s also odd about the exclusion of Owens and Bruce is that they seem to be getting shunned for opposite reasons. Owens was a loud, brash trash-talker who bounced around the league because he rubbed players and coaches the wrong way. Bruce was a quiet and reserved player who was often overlooked due to his humble nature.
Both receivers were dominant on the football field. The Hall of Fame is supposed to recognize players based on their abilities and production, not their personalities. For decades, elite receivers have been passed over for the Hall for lesser players at other positions. It’s time for the Hall to do the right thing allow wide receivers to shine. Bruce and Owens deserve busts.
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