LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Otto Porter, Jr. is in the best possible position to begin his NBA career and he knows it.
Having played a handful of pickup games with John Wall while at Georgetown, the third-overall pick in this year’s draft is relishing the opportunity to be part of a young core of players tasked with revitalizing a struggling franchise.
Just a year ago, however, Porter didn’t envision he’d be preparing team with Wall or Bradley Beal. Heck, he couldn’t imagine drawing a paycheck from the NBA at all for that matter.
Not yet, anyway.
The former Georgetown Hoya revealed he wasn’t expecting to depart John Thompson III’s squad after just two seasons during an interview with The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The FAN Monday morning. But after nearly doubling his point production as a sophomore, the just-turned-20-year-old opted to forgo his final two years of college eligibility in favor of the NBA.
“I did think I was going to play longer at Georgetown,” Porter said of his freshman mindset. “But that next year I just wanted to improve, because I knew I could be a better player. I put that on myself to work even harder that summer.”
Improve he did. Porter was named Big East Player of the Year and led the Hoyas into the NCAA tournament where they were projected to have a deep run in the bracket. Then came the modern version of Phi Slamma Jamma and an early second-round exit.
The team’s disappointing loss to Florida Gulf Coast did give Porter pause on declaring eligibility for the NBA draft and he considered returning for a third year in college. But he said, “at the same time I had to think about my future and the road ahead of me.”
With that a decision had been made to go pro.
Although a star at Georgetown, Porter now finds himself in the NBA proving ground with a blank résumé . It’s one he looks forward to writing and he appears humble in climbing the Wizards ladder.
“I just want to come in and work hard, whether I start or whether I come off the bench,” said Porter. “I feel like I’ve just got to find my role with the team when I first get there and go from there. I’ll continue to work hard and just play whenever I have the opportunity to play.”
It didn’t take long for the small town sensation to get his first taste of veteran ‘ribbing’ as new teammate Trever Booker didn’t take to kindly to the rookie’s desire to wear No. 35 in honor of his father. Booker has had the number affixed to his jersey since joining the Wizards in 2010.
“It would have been nice to wear his number if somebody didn’t wear it. But, it’s not a big deal to me,” Porter said. “I’ve been wearing No. 22 since high school. It would have been nice to wear 35, but I’m fully blessed to even go (to the NBA).”