By SEVE COUSINS & ADAM ZAGORIA
BROOKLYN — Otto Porter arrived at the Legends Classic coming off a concussion and representing an unranked Georgetown basketball team.
He left with his NBA draft stock surging and his Hoyas sure to be ranked in the Top 25 in Monday’s poll.
Yet for all his fantastic play in 48 hours at the Barclays Center, the 6-foot-8 sophomore from Sikeston, Mo., was somehow left off the All-Tournament Team.
Indiana’s Cody Zeller, Georgetown’s Markel Starks, UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made the all-tourney team, with Indiana’s Jordan Hulls as the MVP.
Caldwell-Pope is a fine player, but his team went 0-2 here while the 6-foot-8 Porter willed his team into overtime against No. 1 Indiana en route to 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
The Hoosiers won the game, 82-72, but Porter was among the best players at the tournament.
After being sidelined for one game last week because of a mild concussion, he returned Monday to help knock off Muhammad and No. 13 UCLA, 78-70, with his 18 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals.
Against Indiana, he came up huge in the clutch by draining a clutch 3-pointer with 29 seconds left in regulation to cut the Indiana lead to 1. He then forced overtime with a driving layup with 4.6 seconds on the clock.
Indiana outscored Georgetown, 18-8, in the extra frame, but Porter left his mark on the game.
“Porter’s got that ability to play at the rim, he’s got the ability to play in the mid-range, he’s got the ability to play on the perimeter,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. And I think when you’ve got a guy like that it makes it really difficult because he can not only get baskets for himself but he can really distribute the ball to other people.”
Overall, Porter went 6-for-13 from the floor, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, which prompted Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com to shout him out on Twitter: “Looks like Otto Porter is becoming a legitimate consistent 3- point shooter. That is huge for his draft stock with everything else he does”.
Added Crean: ”I think what he can do is he can score a lot of different ways. He’s one of the quicker guys you’re going to see in the post-up game. He can play on the perimeter. He’s got a great first step, a deceiving first step. A relentless rebounder. They’re going to be one of the nation’s leaders in rebounders because of guys like him.”
A soft-spoken young man from a tiny town, Porter appeared calm, yet clearly disappointed about the loss in the press conference.
“I mean it’s just a learning process this early in the year,” he said. “Most of our guys never had much experience coming up. Like i said it’s just a learning process for us. We’re just going to take things and look at this game and just learn from it.”
WHITTINGTON GETS PRAISE
Crean also praised Georgetown sophomore forward Greg Whittington, who finished with 12 points and 6 boards in the loss.
“I think Whittington is one of the underrated, undervalued future stars in college basketball,” he said. “Everybody knows about Otto Porter right now but Whittington is going to be tremendous.”
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