In April of 2012 we shocked everyone by projecting Otto Porter would improve from his 9.7 points per game and 6.8 rebounds a game to be the best player in the Big East and fourth best player in the country. Thursday he put an explanation point on the Big East Player of the Year award he received this year by scoring 18 points and leading a defense that shut down Cincinnati 62-43. With this, Porter made his case for National Player of the Year and a No. 1 seed for the Hoyas.
Porter's Value Add in 2012 was the 48th best in the country as a freshman, but because players take their biggest jump between their freshman and sophomore year, he was projected to leapfrog to be the fourth best player this season. Instead, only Trey Burke has been more valuable according to Value Add. Porter has scored 16.4 points a game while grabbing 7.5 rebounds, and adding 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
But Porter showed again Thursday why in one aspect he has no peers--as he scored 18 points while leading a defense that only yielded 43 points--meaning Porter scored 42% of the points his team allowed. For the season he is unmatched in scoring more than 30 percent as many points as the Hoyas' opponents (16.4 to 54.3).
Cincinnati is still a Breitbart Sports lock for the tournament, and kept the game close most of the way until Porter's Hoyas ground the Bearcats offense to a halt. Georgetown led 51-39 coming out of the final official timeout, and Cincinnati ran a play to Shaquille Thomas, but Porter grabbed the ball and drew the foul on Thomas. Porter went to the other end of the court to his first of eight consecutive free throws with 3:30 to play to steadily pull away.
Georgetown will play in the Friday, 7 pm semifinal against the winner of the Pitt-Syracuse for the last time in Big East tournament play. The Hoyas will be in Madison Square Garden again next year for the tournament, but Pitt and Syracuse will be playing in the ACC.
Others are now agreeing with our early appraisal of Porter. Fran Faschilla of ESPN has moved Porter from No. 14 to No. 1 in his new ratings. To quote from his explanation (you need to be an ESPN Insider to read the rest of his piece, but this quote is on the public page):
“Unlike many of the players on my final Impact 25 of the season, Porter was not a well-known commodity coming out of the summer basketball circuit. He was, however, a small-town star in Sikeston, Mo., whose best competition was the bevy of family and friends who came from the same background. As the season has unfolded, he's had as much of an impact on a team as any player in the country.”