College Basketball Insider

Add Otto Porter to the National Player of the Year conversation

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- John Thompson III spent the past couple of weeks winning games and fielding questions about whether Otto Porter should be the Big East Player of the Year. Each time, he basically said yes. So I decided to up the stakes a little after Georgetown's 57-46 win over Syracuse and ask the Hoyas' coach whether his dynamic sophomore should get more attention for National Player of the Year.

"Absolutely," Thompson III answered. "Don't you agree?"

I told him that, yes, I agree.

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"So who's going to give him the attention if you guys don't start writing about him?" Thompson III said with a smile, at which point I asked him to give me a couple of hours. And so now here I am, following through on a promise, writing about Porter from inside the Carrier Dome, where 35,012 fans spent Saturday watching an incredible performance.

From a visitor.

Which is why the record crowd that came to see Georgetown's final scheduled appearance at this on-campus facility left a lot quieter than they arrived. Their enthusiasm that peaked when Orange legend Carmelo Anthony's number was retired during a ceremony at halftime was ripped away by a 6-foot-8 forward whose team is now -- thanks to Villanova's subsequent upset of Marquette -- all alone atop the Big East standings.

"Porter was so good," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "He just dominated the game. ... He had a tremendous game ... and he was the difference in the game. By a lot."

The numbers alone don't properly demonstrate just how good Porter was, but the numbers are still a good place to start. So let me start there -- by telling you that Porter finished with 33 points, eight rebounds, five steals and two blocks in 40 minutes.

He was 12-of-19 (63 percent) from the field.

His teammates were 7-of-35 (20 percent) from the field.

He was 5-of-10 (50 percent) from 3-point range.

His teammates were 2-of-15 (13 percent) from 3-point range.

Porter made 58 percent of Georgetown's 2-pointers and 71 percent of Georgetown's 3-pointers while scoring 58 percent of Georgetown's points. He got 16 in the first half, 17 in the second and generally dominated from start to finish, which is why someone asked Thompson III if he simply decided during the game that Porter "was going to be [his] guy."

"I decided that in August," Thompson III answered.

Touche, JT3.


Porter is averaging 15.9 points and 7.6 rebounds on the season, and his numbers over the past 12 games -- which is to say, since academics sidelined Greg Wittington -- are even better. The Missouri native has averaged 18.9 points and 8.2 rebounds during this stretch. That -- combined with a suffocating defense that ranks among the top 10 nationally in terms of efficiency -- is why Georgetown is 11-1 since that humiliating 73-48 loss at home to Pittsburgh that briefly dropped the Hoyas from the Associated Press poll.

The writers ranked them 11th this week.

They'll be in the top 10 when the polls update Monday.

Meantime, Syracuse is at risk of falling from the top 10 for the first time this season, which would be the insult added to the injury that was having its 38-game home winning streak snapped by a rival on an unusually hyped and historic afternoon. The Orange have lost four of eight since starting the season 18-1, and two of those losses (at Villanova and at Connecticut) came to unranked opponents with a combined Big East record of 17-11.

"We shot 4 for 20 [from 3-point range]," Boeheim said, and that's kind of a theme in Syracuse's losses. The Orange aren't great from beyond the arc in general, but they've been especially bad in their losses, shooting just 21.7 percent in those five games.

But that's enough about Syracuse.

I didn't promise to write about Syracuse.

I promised to write about Big East POY favorite and National POY candidate Otto Porter after his dominating effort that even featured a 4-point play.

"I think I did a pretty good job," Porter said. "Could've been better."

Technically, I guess.

But it really doesn't get much better than what Porter did here on this day that was supposed to be about extending a home winning streak against a rival while a legend was honored but ended up being about him. So watch your backs, Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke. We've spent the past two weeks arguing about which Big Ten player will be the National POY. But now there's a third name to consider, and that name is Otto Porter.

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