Tonight Matt May of The Cats Pause broke a story that we were suspecting we might hear for some time as Michael Porter is officially calling it quits at Kentucky. Porter would have been a Senior this year, but has already graduated from college and has a baby on the way this summer. He is quitting the team for personal reasons and was not forced off by Calipari in any way. There has been some speculation that the decision was not made by Porter but I can attest that this isnt the case. I was told by someone who would most certainly know that Calipari was given free reign with the roster but agreed to allow any of the Seniors that were on the team to stay and finish their UK careers. Porter made the decision to take care of his family first and will not go forward at UK, but that decision is solely his own.
Porter has been a lightning rod over the past two years and watching him take criticism has been very difficult. I have gotten to know Michael a bit during those years and I must say, there isnt a finer person on the UK basketball team than Michael Porter. When things have been difficult on the court, Porter was the focal point for many fans’ criticisms and at times his reception by home fans was something far short of warm. But you never heard Porter complain, not even once, about his treatment or the way he was received. He gave full 100 percent effort in every game and literally bled for the Cats on multiple occasions. No one associated with the program has ever had a negative word to say about Michael on or off the court and there hasnt been one instance where his actions have done anything to embarass the program or the University in any way. He is a class act and one of the finer kids that I have known to wear the uniform.
During the Florida game last season, I decided that sitting on press row would be too much as I simply had to cheer. I took a seat in the parent’s section next to Michael’s dad and listened to the former Coach talk about his son and his time at Kentucky. At one point in the game he said to me, “this hasnt been easy for Michael in a lot of ways….but he bleeds blue and he loves this place and this program and would do anything for it.” I thought about that quote a lot as the year ended and we all debated what UK basketball is about and who should be its representative. There is no doubt that many times Michael’s performance on the court was lacking, but his love of wearing the uniform never wavered one bit. You can argue that he shouldnt have been the starting Point Guard at UK and that he was outmatched for what he was asked to do….but the key thing is that he did WHAT HE WAS ASKED TO DO. He didnt make the decisions, he just tried his best to execute them. His performance was not always there, but his effort was extraordinary…and really that is all you can ask.
After the LSU game at the SEC Tournament, I asked Michael about his future and he said, “I plan on coming back but I honestly havent really thought about it. This has been a crazy year and I need time to think about what to do next. But I do know that I love playing at Kentucky.” Michael Porter gave it his all at UK and was a point guard during a difficult time in the program’s history. But he wore the uniform proudly and he bled blue throughout. For that, I hope he remains close to the program next season as he pursues his Master’s Degree and I want to see him next year gets what he so richly deserves….a standing ovation from an adoring crowd on Senior Day. There have been very few who have wanted it more.
To some news….
— With multiple court appearances over the next two days, I decided to hit the basketball court tonight (result = aches and pains) and get away from the real world. When the game finished, I headed back to my phone and realized that chaos had ensued. From Porter’s decision to quit to Cousins decision to postpone to the Frosted One’s decision to rant, it has been quite an eventful night. On the Cousins issue, many around the program thought they would hear good Cousins news tonight, and that ended up not coming. According to an interview with TCP, Demarcus says he will not make his decision until April 20. I still think UK leads for Cousins, but the longer it takes the more variables come into play. The Cats dont NEED Cousins (they have Orton coming in and a potential major contributor in Pilgrim), but he is so good, they certainly could use him….but it looks like we will have to wait more time to find out what he will do.
— There has been a lot of talk in recruiting land about where else UK might go in this class. Xavier Henry had his paperwork sent to UK and Kansas after getting his full release from Memphis. Most everyone still thinks Kansas is the team to beat but now that Memphis has let him go, Calipari will put the full press on him. I am told that Calipari is a bit concerned about perimeter scoring if Meeks leaves (as he should be) and he hopes to continue to put off the Henry decision as long as possible to see how the Meeks situation plays out. UK is not favored in the Henry sweepstakes…but they arent out either.
— Rivals.com today wrote about the possibility of an old recruiting name, Solomon Hill being back on the UK radar. Hill is ranked as the #30 player in the land and has committed and decommitted from USC a couple of times. Gillispie recruited him a while back before the USC commitment and it looks like Calipari has made contact and he is considering UK once again. Hill would be another addition to an already stacked group of interior type players for UK and if they are somehow able to pull him in, this class could take on a dynamic level.
— Finally, expect an announcement very soon about the future of the current UK lineup. The Cats had a practice today and will have one more before the end of the time period in which they can be worked out. After that time, I think we will see the final lineup take shape. At this point, this is the roster:
That is of course 13 players and in theory, that could be the roster. Most expect Williams and Stewart to not be on scholarship next year and of course there is speculation about Harrellson as well. But at this point, there are 13 players for 13 rides. Again what does that mean? For each new player that comes, one will have to go. Get your scorecards ready.
And as for the other thing…..Hunter writes a post on the Haters Tournament (which he has done about a host of people and some have even encouraged the hate), which I didnt even read, and somehow the Frosted One uses it is an excuse to blast me and talk about how little he cares about me. Gotcha……as one of our commentors said tonight:
“I certainly am not interested in talking about you at all.”
-MM after a 1,700 word essay solely devoted to Matt Jones
We will see you later today with assorted nonsense and tomfoolery (and hopefully no video of my basketball game tonight)……