SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Michael Porter Jr. did what he does best and No. 8 Nathan Hale (Seattle) did a good job of following the 6-9 senior’s lead to a 80-77 defeat of No. 7 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic.
Porter, a Washington signee and the No. 2 player in the 2017 class behind DeAndre Ayton, scored a game-high 36 points and had five rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead the Raiders (14-0).
“Lately, I feel I have something to prove, so every game I want to make a statement,” Porter said. “Another big stage, another big moment. It’s my goal to be the best player in the country. On stages like this, that’s where I have to prove something. I think I played pretty good. I missed some shots I normally make, but overall, I think I played well.”
Porter got plenty of help, which made it difficult for Oak Hill (18-3) to focus solely on him.
“Mike is the type of guy who tries to do everything,” said Nathan Hale coach Brandon Roy, the former NBA star. “He can do a lot. Earlier in the season, I told him that against better teams,we’ll need the other guys to step up and make plays.
“P.J. (Fuller) and Jontay (Porter) did a good job against Sierra Canyon (at the Les Schwab Invitational in Portland), so I knew they would step up. I tell Michael, the better they play, the more you trust them, it’s just going to open things up. He’s just doing an unbelievable job. I’m getting spoiled my first year of coaching him. He’s a great player.”
Fuller had 17 points, none bigger than a three-quarters court shot he made at the end of the third quarter that put the Raiders ahead 63-55.
“I’ve never made that shot in my life,” Fuller said. “I was shocked.”
Jontay Porter, Michael’s younger brother, had 13 points and seven rebounds. Jontay, a 6-10 junior, is also a Washington signee, although he could potentially reclassify to join his brother in college next season.
“My team sticks together, which separates us,” Michael Porter Jr. said. “I’m just proud of my team. They got me the ball. They stayed in attack mode and that opened things up for me. I think my brother might be enrolling early with me next season at Washington, but we’ll see.”
Porter, guarded by fellow McDonald’s All-American Billy Preston, a Kansas signee, had 20 points in the first half to pace the Raiders to a 43-38 lead. Jontay had seven points, including three of his team’s five first-half three points. Preston led the Warriors with 15 points in the first half but finished with only 17 . He also had 16 rebounds. Lindell Wiggington led the Warriors with 22 points.
An hour before the game, Oak Hill’s Matt Coleman said he would choose Texas over Duke. He finished with 15 points.
“I let them know earlier this week,” Coleman said. “They said, ‘We got to get you out for one of our games.’ I told them, ‘Don’t worry, Coach, I’m hooking baby, I’m coming there next year.'”
Coleman also finished with a growing admiration for Porter.
“He’s different,” Coleman said. “He’s 6-9 and skilled. Not a whole lot of people can do what he can do. I have much respect for Mike. He’s a good dude off the court. He might get to the NBA a year quicker than me, but we’ll see each other at the top.”