Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr. leaving for the NBA

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Sports,NBA,College,Craig Stouffer,Georgetown University

Hoyas star 'prepared' to take the next step

John Thompson III knew before the season began what its end might bring for Otto Porter Jr. The 6-foot-8 sophomore from Sikeston, Mo., announced Monday at McDonough Arena that he would forgo his remaining college eligibility and turn professional.

As Porter averaged a team-best 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game along with 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals to help the Hoyas (25-7) go from unranked to a share of the Big East regular-season title, Thompson talked to the "people who make the choices."

"I look at that as part of my responsibility so they get as true and as honest of a feel of what their status is or is not," Thompson said. "I've talked to people from probably every [NBA] organization multiple times just to get a feel for what they're thinking about Otto."

And what did he find out?

"On draft night we don't expect him to be sitting around too long," Thompson said.

Porter, an All-American -- Georgetown's first since Allen Iverson -- a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden awards and the Big East player of the year, said he didn't rush to a final decision after the Hoyas' season ended earlier than expected in the NCAA tournament.

"The toughest part was knowing that you're going to leave a great place like this," Porter said. "I love this place. It was tough, and I had to think about it every night, whether to stay or go."

Thompson called it a case of "two good choices."

"My coaches and my teammates got me prepared on and off the court," Porter said. "As a human being, I'm prepared to take on the world. If was coming back to school, I think I was prepared to finish out my career."

Thompson extolled Porter's readiness and said his versatility would be valued at the next level.

"I think that's one thing that he's honest with himself," Thompson said. "He's an honest player. He's been blessed in that he can do so many things well, so he now has the responsibility to do so many things well. It's not coach speak. He has to improve and work at everything."

With clear signs of relief on his face, Porter said he will begin the process of signing with an agent. He intends to remain at Georgetown to work out and prepare for the NBA Draft on June 27. The NBA Draft Lottery takes place May 21, which could determine whether the Wizards are in range to land him. He's projected by ESPN.com's Chad Ford as the fourth overall pick.

Should Porter go that high, it would be one spot ahead of former Georgetown forward Jeff Green, who was picked fifth overall in the 2007 draft. Just as Thompson did his research, Porter already has reached out to Green for advice.

"It was a funny conversation," Porter said. "He told it to me straight, everything I needed to know."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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