Michael Porter Jr. wins Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year

Nathan Hale forward Michael Porter Jr., right, drives around Garfield guard Jaylen Nowell during the first half of the Washington state boys’ 3A high school basketball championship. (Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)

Michael Porter Jr. and his top ranked Nathan Hale (Seattle) squad won’t suit up at the DICK’s Sports Goods High School Nationals in New York City next week, but, in Porter’s mind, after staying undefeated all season (29-0), finishing No. 1 in the USA Today Super 25 and knocking off top teams in the process, there’s “nothing left to prove.”

“We feel like we’re the best team,” Porter said.

On Wednesday, Porter learned that he was also considered the best player, winning the Gatorade Boys National Basketball Player of the Year award.

Gatorade has honored more than 290 National Players of the Year over the last 32 years including athletes such as Peyton Manning, Karl-Anthony Towns, Maya Moore, Jabari Parker, Kerri Walsh and Andrew Wiggins.

“It’s an amazing honor to win this award,” said Porter, who is ranked No. 1 in the ESPN 100. “They came to my house and surprised me with it. I had no idea. With all of the talented players in my class and around the country, winning this is special. I work really hard and it’s a great feeling to have your hard work pay off in such a big way.”

Last summer, Porter led Mokan Elite (Mo.) to the Peach Jam title and won a gold medal with the USA U18 National Team.

This season, Porter averaged 36.2 points, 13.6 rebounds, five assists, 3.2 steals and 2.7 blocks per game for the Raiders. He racked up 3,427 points in his four-year high school career.

Porter led Nathan Hale to a state title this season; his second in as many years and states.

He led Father Tolton Catholic (Columbia, Mo.) to a state title last year before moving to Seattle last summer.

“When I found out that we were moving I knew that would be a big opportunity to do something rare,” Porter said of winning back-to-back state titles in two different states. “Then when I found out that Nathan Hale went 3-18 last season I knew we’d have work to do. We just stayed together and got it done. My teammates are a big reason I was able to have a big year; they went hard at all times and played their roles. This is definitely one of the biggest honors I could’ve ever received.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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