Hoya getting attentionon a national scale
John Thompson III tried to search for a diplomatic answer. The question had been about the curious omission of Otto Porter Jr. from last year's Big East all-rookie team.
Thompson settled for what might amount to a statement of fact.
|Porter puts up numbers|
|Otto Porter Jr.'s Big East rankings|
|Points » 12th (14.8 per game)|
|Rebounds » 5th (7.6 per game)|
|FG % » 8th (.513)|
|3-pt % » 3rd (.462)|
|Steals » 7th (1.84 per game)|
|Blocks » 15th (1.11 per game)|
|No. 20 Georgetown at Rutgers|
|When » Saturday, noon|
|Where » Louis Brown Athletic Center, Piscataway, N.J.|
|TV » MASN|
"He should've been on the rookie team last year," Thompson said.
It's an assertion that was backed by up the Big East coaches themselves, who went from overlooking Porter in March to making him a preseason player of the year candidate in October.
With a third of the current season remaining, Porter has done everything to justify that accolade and more. Georgetown's conference opponents know only too well what he has done to carry the Hoyas (16-4, 6-3 Big East) and solidify his status as a frontrunner for the league's most prestigious individual honor. But it takes more than a brief glance at his statistics to realize that he deserves equal consideration at the national level.
Heading into the weekend, Porter (14.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg) doesn't lead the Big East in a single major individual category. But he's among the top 15 players in six, a breadth of impact matched by Michigan point guard Trey Burke. Other national player of the year favorites Doug McDermott (Creighton), Cody Zeller (Indiana) and Jeff Withey (Kansas) are the same in five categories in their respective conferences.
"Otto is Otto," Thompson said. "He's reliable. He's going to be there every night. He's every day. Some guys aren't every day. Otto Porter is every single, solitary day. He has been for a year and a half now. I don't anticipate that changing throughout his career, period. Is he being a little more aggressive, assertive right now? Probably. But I don't think there's been any big swings in how he's performed."
The closest Porter came to a slump was when the Hoyas dropped their first two conference games and then lost second-leading scorer and rebounder Greg Whittington to academic ineligibility. He responded with no less than 17 points in the next six games.
"I think it was both, and losing Greg was a shock," Porter said. "I think everybody in their mind knew that they had to step up in order for us to continue to play and do well."
Porter's scoring and field goal percentages have both increased in Big East play, but he said his current emphasis at Georgetown prepares for Rutgers (12-9, 3-7) is on defensive rebounding. How that influences those who will vote at the end of the year remains to be seen.
"I don't what his resume needs on it," Thompson said. "But if you look and watch him play, he's one of the best players in the country."