Georgetown University sophomore Otto Porter Jr. has declared for 2013 NBA Draft. Otto leaves after two memorable years on the Hilltop in which he evolved from uniquely-skilled freshman with tremendous upside to a National Player of the Year candidate. Hoya fans can hold out hope that Otto stays local—the Washington Wizards are a few lucky ping pong balls away from sneaking into the top four and stealing the 6”8 forward, but those odds sit under 25%. We have to accept the fact that all we have left of Otto is the memories—the relentless hustle, fearless leadership, and winning smile. Though Otto’s season was filled with highlights night in and night out, three distinct plays stand out above the rest as everlasting memories of his time here at Georgetown.
The denial. (March 2, 2013; Washington D.C.) Otto and co. were coming off a heart stopping one-point victory over the Huskies and were looking to defeat Rutgers for the second time in a span of three and a half weeks. The Scarlet Knights played the Hoyas step for step in the first half, but Otto proved to be too much out of the locker room, leading the way with a 15-18 effort at the foul line and a ridiculous 4 steal-3 block defensive gem. The brilliance Otto displayed in putting the team on his back was enough to win him
one week of verbal and physical abuse amnesty high acclaim from then-Rutgers head coach Mike Rice. The play of the night came with the Hoyas up nine late in the second half. The Knights got out on break after corralling a missed Trawick jumper, and Otto was the only one back on D. Sophomore guard Jerome Seagers had what appeared to be a textbook fast-break layup. Otto then did something I had never seen a basketball player do. Backpedaling and off-balance, Porter reached up, and not only swatted Seagers’ shot away, but somehow managed to contort his arm in such a way as to deflect the ball off the backboard and back into play. Absolutely jaw-dropping.
The finish. (February 27, 2013; Storrs, CT) Otto ended the most-thrilling game of season with a driving layup that gave the Hoyas a 79-78 win at UConn. The entire sequence sums up Otto as a player and what he meant to this team. DSR, playing his best defense of the season, caused Shabazz Napier to cough up the ball in the corner with 17 ticks left. The freshman quickly recovered the ball, looked up the floor, and found Otto, who led a frantic jailbreak down the court. With long, gliding steps, Otto coasted 40 feet in about three seconds to get to the rim and lay the ball in. Coach Thompson neglected to use the two timeouts he had left in his pocket because the ball was in the hands of his superstar. The Hoyas had been in a similar situation earlier in the year at South Florida, and JTIII elected to talk it over. This time, there was never any doubt—Otto was going to win it. The play extended the Hoyas’ improbable winning streak to double digits and will go down as one of the all-time great endings in the annals of Georgetown basketball.
The dagger. (February 23, 2013; Syracuse, NY) Trailing the Orange 23-21 at the half, the Hoyas came out firing to start the second. Three pointers by Porter, Markel Starks, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera put Georgetown up 39-31 with 11 and a half minutes left in the game. After a three-minute stalemate, MCW and James Southerland responded, narrowing the deficit to 41-37 with under six left. Syracuse, looking to make one final push, threw the ball into Rakeem Christmas for what looked like an easy put-in, but Moses Ayegba rotated over and made the play of his Georgetown career by denying Christmas at the last second. Following a timeout and a patented 34-second JTIII possession, Jabril Trawick drew a penetration double and kicked to Otto at the elbow, who drained the three despite heavy contact from Brandon Triche. The roar in the Carrier Dome dimmed to a whisper. Otto drained the foul shot and doubled his team’s lead in the blink of an eye. It was special moment for a special player, and each member of Georgetown’s bench had a different way of showing some love.