On Sunday evening, Tolton boys basketball head coach Jeremy Osborne received a text that made his heart drop.
Standout Coban Porter had torn his meniscus that afternoon in a pickup game, and the senior guard would be out for the rest of the season.
“The first thing that went through my head was that I felt horrible for the kid,” Osborne said. “As a senior, he’s going to lose the rest of his final year and not be able to finish it out and accomplish what he was going to accomplish at the high school level.”
First and foremost, Osborne focused on how Porter would rebound and recover from the injury, acting primarily as an emotional support system for the young athlete.
After Porter’s successful surgery on Thursday morning, Osborne then turned his focus on how to address Porter’s missing presence.
“A player of that caliber is going to be a huge loss,” Osborne said.
Though the injury has undoubtedly placed the Trailblazers in a difficult situation both emotionally and on the court, the positivity radiating from Porter in the past week has spread to his coaches and teammates.
“We’ve always stressed that our strength is in our numbers,” Osborne said. “We have plenty of other guys that are capable. No one to fill his shoes, but guys that can step in and make up that production.”
Now, with two more wins under the Trailblazers’ belt since Porter’s injury, it seems as though Osborne was right.
Senior guards Chase Martin and Deuce Tatum have recently stepped up into leadership roles on the team, taking charge on both sides of the ball. Porter’s younger brother, sophomore forward Jevon Porter, has also increased his offensive production.
Osborne also credited many of the team’s younger non-starters, such as sophomores Tahki Chievous and Justin Boyer and freshman Evens Appolon, with assuming greater responsibility since Porter’s departure.
“Every single person on the team over the past two games has surpassed their scoring average,” Osborne said. “Our guys are really stepping up, really trying to play in honor of Coban and play as hard as he would because they know he’d do the same for them.”
While out for the season, Porter can still be seen supporting his teammates as they finish out the rest of their already-impressive season. Osborne and the Trailblazers compete next at 7:30 p.m. Friday against St. Francis Borgia.