By JOSH NEWMAN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
PHILADELPHIA – Inside a secluded media interview area in the bowels of the Wells Fargo Center, Otto Porter Jr. sat on the far left side of the podium and stared into space for the better of part of four and a half minutes on Friday evening.
Describing the Georgetown sophomore small forward as despondent up there would be accurate and no one would blame him after the Hoyas became the seventh No. 2 seed all-time and the third in the last two seasons to fall to a No. 15 seed when they were manhandled in the second half of a 78-68 loss to Florida Gulf Coast University.
As Porter Jr. sat there and stared, someone from the media contingent decided to ask what most reporters in the room were thinking.
Has Otto Porter Jr., this season’s Big East Player of the Year and a projected lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft, played his final game for Georgetown?
“I haven’t made it through that process yet,” Porter Jr. said meekly.
And so begins the waiting game as Porter Jr. decides what his immediate future will be. In an NBA Draft that some are predicting to be historically weak, the assumption is that Porter, who shot just 5-for-17 in finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds on Friday night, will indeed declare before the April 28 deadline.
While no official decision has been made, Porter Jr. certainly has enough people thinking he is good enough to jump to the NBA after two seasons of college basketball.
Carmelo Anthony was at the Carrier Dome when Porter Jr. went off for 33 points, eight rebounds and five steals on Feb. 23, and was blunt in his assessment of his draft prospects come June.
“If he has a chance, if he’s a top 10 pick, I definitely think he should come out,” Anthony told SNY.tv exclusively on Feb. 24.
One veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv on Friday evening that he viewed Porter Jr. as ‘a cross between Paul George and Thaddeus Young‘ and that ‘he could go top 5, top 10 for sure.’
Porter Jr. is currently projected to go at No. 8 in June’s NBA Draft according to DraftExpress.com.
“There’s been so many great players, centers, power forwards, point guards, two guards, but I don’t think I’ve seen a better small forward in this league,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after the Orange outlasted the Hoyas in overtime last week in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. “He’s just a complete player.”
“If I’m picking, I pick him first in the draft. I don’t even look at anybody else. I pick him first in the draft. I think he’s the best. I think he’ll be a great pro.”