Michael Porter Jr was a beast at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, WA. He has an unstoppable offensive game, limitless in all the ways he can score. He put up 32 points per game in his senior season at Nathan Hale, leading his squad to a 29-0 record.
His lone season at Mizzou was cut short due to injury and now the 19-year-old is on every NBA team’s radar ahead of this week’s draft. SLAM caught up with Porter Jr to discuss his whirlwind journey to the League and how’s he more than just a scorer.
SLAM: There’s a lot of doubters out there right now. How are you keeping a level head?
Michael Porter Jr: That’s what I got my agent for. He talks to all those people to let them know they’re trippin’. And let’s them know that I’m doing good. And for me, I just gotta focus on what I can control. I can’t control what other people say even though a lot of what they say isn’t true. People just don’t understand that I’m feeling good, I’m ready to take the League by storm and do my thing, and really help a team and let people see the player I am. People kind of forgot about me a little bit, but that’s alright. I’m ready to wake them back up.
SLAM: When did you think about seriously trying to make basketball a career?
MPJ: Ever since I was three years old and I first picked up a ball, I knew I loved the sport. I didn’t think I was gonna be in the NBA until about fifth grade [at] AAU Nationals. We won Nationals, and that was when I really thought I could make it to the League.
SLAM: Your brother Jontay is also a big-time hooper. How often are you guys working out together still?
MPJ: All the time. Jontay, people say he had a great year at Mizzou, I expected that from him. I always tell him he could do way more on the floor cause we play one-on-one all the time. But I was happy for him, he’s getting better and better.
SLAM: What’s the one-on-one record?
MPJ: I’m killing him in one-on-one. It’s just a big bro thing. Maybe if I wasn’t his big brother it might be a little more leveled, but, nah. (laughs)
SLAM: You’ve been able to be around tons of pro hoopers already. What type of advice are they giving you?
MPJ: Really just staying focused. When you get to the League there’s guys that work really hard and guys that let the lifestyle get to them a little bit. For me, I just have to stay focused and keep my goals and keep working.
SLAM: Everyone talks about your scoring. Is there an aspect of your game that doesn’t get talked about?
MPJ: I think my rebounding. In high school I averaged, like, 17 boards a game. I think rebounding is one of the biggest skills that I have. Rebounding and bringing it up the floor. So I think that doesn’t get talked about a lot, I think they just thinking I’m an all around scorer, a natural scorer, but I like to rebound the ball too.
SLAM: Where does that mentality come from?
MPJ: For me, it’s I don’t like to get lost in game. You know, there’s great players that tend to have spurts where they do really, really well and then disappear for a little bit. I try to just keep going the whole game and be productive the whole game. So when you do that, you can get seventeen rebounds a game, cause you don’t get lost in the game.
SLAM: There’s been a lot of comparisons to KD. Who do you think you play like?
MPJ: I get compared to Tracy McGrady a lot. I think that one’s pretty accurate in terms of how he plays. I like the KD one, KD’s an amazing player so to be in the conversation with him, you’re doing something right. And then I get a mix between Giannis and KD because I like to a little bit of what they do. But I like to shoot more than Giannis but bring it to the hole more than KD.
SLAM: Tell us about your partnership with Autotrader.
MPJ: I decided to partner with them because they know a lot about cars and I don’t. One of the first things I’m going to do when I get to a city is look into getting a car. They’re going to help me with that. The all new Autotrader has the largest selection of vehicles that I’ll get to pick from and they just added Kelly Blue Book price advisor so I get the best price and I know I’m not overpaying, and I’m not getting ripped off.
SLAM: What car you tryna get?
MPJ: I’m still thinking, but I’m leaning towards a Tesla.