The news we all are expecting arrived today, as Georgetown's all-everything forward Otto Porter announced that he will enter the 2013 NBA Draft.
Porter's announcement comes after he submitted one of the truly outstanding individual seasons in recent Georgetown history. His basic statistics--team-high per-game averages of 16.2 points , 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 42.2 three-point shooting, to go with 2.7 assists per contest--tell only part of the story, as Porter's production truly took off once classmate Greg Whittington was ruled academically ineligible. A shorter bench left the Hoyas to rely increasingly on their few offensive options. Most reliable was Porter, who scored in double figures in the season's 19 remaining games, topping 20 in seven of those games. The apex of this run was a three-game stretch in which Otto: poured in 33 points in a double-figure win at Syracuse; capped a dramatic comeback with a last-second, game-winning lay-up in double-overtime at Connecticut; and broke open an ugly home win over Rutgers with a dominant performance at both ends of the floor. These three wins capped Georgetown's 11-game winning streak, which took it from the NCAA Tournament bubble to first place in the Big East.
Thanks to his outstanding sophomore season, Porter earned a variety of post-season accolades. He was unanimously named Big East Player of the Year, and also was selected as an AP First-Team All-American, while finishing second in those writers' balloting for the national player of the year. Those awards, while certainly deserved, may be less remarkable than Porter's consistent humility and class, which have made him an impeccable representative of the university and the basketball program.
Porter's brilliance followed on the heels of a very solid freshman season, in which he backed up his coach's preseason assessment as the most ready freshman in the JTIII era. After establishing himself as a versatile and productive sixth man, Porter made his way into the starting rotation at season's end. In consecutive seasons in which Georgetown had to replace the bulk of its scoring and general production, Porter was a mainstay, doing anything, and often everything, that his team needed. As with too many Hoya stars in recent seasons, Porter's otherwise excellent track record has been somewhat blemished by Georgetown's disappointing post-season performances. This season, as defenses increasingly focused on him, Porter turned in consecutive sub-par games in the Big East Tournament against Syracuse and in the NCAA Tournament, where the Hoyas were upset by Florida Gulf Coast. Focusing on those disappointments, though, obscures Porter's truly singular achievements.
Porter generally is projected to be selected between 4th and 8th in June's draft. Where Otto eventually goes depends on the drafting team's needs, though few franchises selecting that high have cornerstone small forwards who would rule out picking Porter. Of teams selecting in that range, Washington, Cleveland, New Orleans, and Detroit all have young cores, are more or less headed in the right direction, and seem to have space for Otto. Mostly, let's just hope he avoids a seat on the careening (and possibly relocating) train-wreck currently known as the Sacramento Kings, which unfortunately also have a vacancy at Porter's position.
We'll have plenty of time in the coming weeks to consider Porter's legacy at Georgetown and the ramifications of his departure on Georgetown next season. In the meantime, though, let's just recognize that he's a good kid, and we wish him well.