MEN'S BASKETBALL | Porter Jr. Named to Second Wooden List
Published: Monday, January 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 23:01
Georgetown sophomore Otto Porter Jr.’s sharp rise to national prominence continued last weekend when the star forward was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list.
Named for legendary UCLA coach John Wooden and administered by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, the award has been bestowed on the top men’s basketball player in the country each year since 1977, as well as on the top women’s player since 2004. No Georgetown player has ever won.
Porter Jr. is averaging 13.3 points and 7.7 rebounds through 14 games this season. He leads the Hoyas in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocked shots per game, and is second in assists per game. Even though Porter has been somewhat inconsistent on offense this season, the award’s advisory board likely included him on the midseason watch list because of his rebounding talent and importance to the vaunted Georgetown defense.
The list includes four other Big East players: Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams, Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley, Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick and Louisville’s Russ Smith.
While Porter Jr.’s importance to Georgetown is hard to overstate, he remains a long shot to win the Wooden Award barring a spectacular Big East season. Michigan’s Trey Burke, Duke’s Mason Plumlee and Creighton’s Doug McDermott, among others, appear to be the current favorites for the award, which is announced during the Final Four.
The watch list announcement is only the latest spotlight to shine on Porter Jr., who in the last two years has gone from a hidden gem in high school to one of the most lauded college athletes in the country.
As a high school star in rural southeast Missouri, the 6-foot-8 forward elected not to play AAU basketball and subsequently flew under the radar before committing to Georgetown in the spring of 2011. Even last year, as an important role player on a nationally ranked team, Porter Jr. was inexplicably left off the Big East all-rookie squad at the end of the year.
Stellar performances at two high-level basketball camps last summer vaulted Porter Jr. into the lottery on most NBA mock drafts, subsequently drawing the national media’s eye to the quiet sophomore for the first time. The Hoyas’ impressive 10-1 start — including a brilliant performance in the nationally televised Legends Classic — only fueled the hype around Porter Jr.
While Porter Jr. and the team as a whole have struggled of late, both returned to form in Saturday’s win at St. John’s, where the star forward scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in his best game of 2012-13.