Columbia local and five-star recruit Michael Porter Jr.'s commitment to Missouri in March 2017 jump-started coach Cuonzo Martin’s revamped program, aiming to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2013.
Missouri was listed on too-early Top 25 rankings, drawing interest from other top recruits and being recognized as a program capable of making a run. Then, 2 minutes, 7 seconds into the opening game against Iowa State, Porter went down. He didn't see the floor again until the SEC Tournament, and he struggled in his return there and in the Tigers' lone NCAA Tournament game, a 67-54 loss to Florida State.
It was a roller-coaster season for Missouri, and the Porter injury saga provided three months of uncertainty, mixed messages and hesitant hope for a return.
It's been much the same for Porter in the lead up to the NBA Draft after he declared in late March. Concerns about his health continue to hound the former top-ranked recruit — with some even suggesting that he might have to sit out his entire rookie campaign — but at the same time he has moved as high as No. 2 in some mock drafts.
Heading into Thursday's NBA Draft in New York, Porter — who on Wednesday signed with Puma Basketball — seemed to be slotted more in the 5-9 range in most prognostications, with Chicago at No. 7 being the most frequently picked destination for the former Tiger.
Despite those projections, however, Porter fell all the way to No. 14, the last pick of the lottery, where he was selected by the Kroenke-owned Denver Nuggets. The former MU standout joins a strong young core consisting of guards Jamal Murray and Gary Harris and star center Nikola Jokic. Porter told ESPN after being drafted that he expects to fully compete in the NBA's Summer League games.
Here’s a chronological look at Porter’s journey since March 2017: