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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014
Many knew this day would come for Otto Porter, Jr.Posted Friday, June 28, 2013, at 12:31 AM
SIKESTON -- It was a almost a year ago when the Porter's got together for what would be just another competitive pick-up game between family.
Otto Porter, Jr., was there. So was Michael Porter, his brother Corey as well as other cousins and uncles.
Michael Porter, who was just starting to get back on his feet from injury troubles, went to post-up Otto under the basket. As Corey would tell the story, Michael, a former four-time all-state basketball player for Sikeston, didn't back down from the future Big East Player of the Year, as the competitiveness that boils in the veins of the Porter family rose to it's point.
Realizing what he was doing, Michael soon apologized to Otto, Jr., thinking he was a little too rough with his younger cousin. He also knew that much, much more was in store for 'Bubba' and that the risk of injury could derail what everyone knew was a bright future ahead.
"Michael went in to post-up Otto, Jr., and he was a little too rough," Corey Porter said as he recalled the story. "Mike said, 'my fault Otto. I can't do that to you.' Getting closer to this day, we knew we couldn't do anything to hurt him because bigger things were coming his way."
For those who know him, it wasn't a huge shock to see Otto Porter, Jr., walk across the stage at the Barclays Center in New York City Thursday night.
His family, friends and former high school administrators knew they would see their cousin, nephew, former student and favorite high school basketball player's name incorporated with the bright lights of the NBA.
Porter's dream came true Thursday night while his many adoring Southeast Missouri fans packed Buffalo Wild Wings in Sikeston to watch the former prep star shake hands with NBA commissioner David Stern welcoming him to the pros.
"I absolutely thought we'd see him here," Scott County Central elementary principal Stacey Russell said. "I could tell by watching him and watching his style of play. You could see how he was very calculating and very smart on the court. My friends would ask me if he was someone they needed to know about. I told them, 'Yes, he will go professional some day.'"
Porter was selected third overall by the Washington Wizards during the 2013 NBA Draft giving what some would argue one of the greatest basketball families in the area, the Porter's, an NBA player to call their own.
"Even though you never talk about it, you're always hoping that one of them will get good enough to make it on that level," Melvin Porter, Otto's uncle said. "It's finally happened. We've been nothing but basketball for ages and all the hard work has paid off for Otto. It was really emotional. Deep down inside you know Otto and you've been around him all his life. It's just really rewarding to see this happen. We're really thankful and proud that he's made it."
Porter, who helped the Scott County Central Braves win three consecutive Class 1 basketball titles from 2009-11, spent the last two years at Georgetown University bursting onto the national scene.
The 6-foot-8, 198-pound forward finished his sophomore season at Georgetown as the Big East Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and was also the only unanimous first-team All-Big East selection. He led the Hoyas (25-7) in scoring, rebounding and steals while also being second in blocked shots and third in assists.
"From the time he was playing as a freshman at SCC, we knew he was going to drive them to state championships and we knew he was going to be great," Corey Porter, who won a state championship with Sikeston in 2011 and currently plays football for Southeast Missouri State University, said. "I have to say that we trusted him that he was going to be a great player and we always knew he'd be fine wherever he wanted to succeed at. It's a blessing. A blessing for the family."
Porter won't have far to move as he joins a Washington team that shares the same venue, the Verizon Center in Washington D.C., as Georgetown University.
Georgetown's first lottery pick since 2010 is expected to fit in well with the pieces that are already in place at Washington, which include rising star John Wall and another Missouri native, Bradley Beal, who went to Chaminade College Prep in St. Louis and was also a third overall pick in 2012.
Porter was believed to be the most versatile player in this years draft. Immediate NBA impact is also expected from Porter, whose long, crafty and high I.Q. style of play is thought to translate well into the next level.
"He's a good kid, well disciplined and very easy to coach," Melvin Porter said, who remembers coaching his son Corey as well as Otto when they were both in the seventh and eighth grade. "He'll listen and do whatever his coach tells him to do and then he's going to go above that and perfect that and become the best that he can be."
There wasn't a shadow of a doubt that his uncle Melvin and cousin Corey, and nearly every other person donned in orange and black, will soon be seeing their family member soon. Plans to watch their new favorite NBA player are already in the initial stages.
"We know he's going to do well in the NBA and we can't wait to see him," Corey Porter said. "There's a 100 percent chance next season we'll go see him play."
"You can count on that," Melvin Porter said. "I told him the last time he was down here that he needs to try and get on at either Memphis, Cleveland or Chicago. But, I told him it really doesn't matter because you're going to play all those teams. We just need to know where we can pick up the tickets."
According to Russell, Porter's newfound fame and future basketball career couldn't have happened to a better human being.
"I think that he's truly a gentleman and I think that word really describes him well," she said, who was teaching at the time Otto Porter started going to Scott County Central in the sixth grade. "Knowing him and seeing him grow up over the years, I've seen the hard work he's put in. We use him as an example a lot to show our kids that it takes that kind of work to get somewhere in life. It's not just a stroke of luck. He has such good character and handles himself so well. If you had a player who was the opposite of what Otto represents, you might not be as happy for him. But, he's all the way around a role model."
It was a proud day for Otto Porter. It was a proud day for his basketball-rich family too. It was also a proud day for Scott County Central, who considers all that walk the halls there to be family.
"It was great just to see a young, great player like him go to the NBA," Former Scott Central teammate LaMarcus Steward said. "It means so much. We're a small, 1A school and it just shows that anybody can do it from any area."
"This is a great day for our family," Corey Porter said. "We're just overjoyed and very happy for Otto, Jr."
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I have been with the Standard Democrat sports department for nearly six years. I took over as sports editor in May of last year and have been slightly crazy about sports for the last 26 years. I attended Southeast Missouri State University and Scott County Central High School. I co-created our sports web show "The Last Word" and my two children, Elijah and CJ. I love to golf, I am an avid NBA2K gamer and root for the Fighting Irish on Saturdays. Once, my son beat me at 2K...he's four.
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