For those of us, media and fans alike, who traveled to Brooklyn to watch in person the highly anticipated collegiate debut of Shabazz Muhammad, there’s no denying the promising performances we were treated to over a two day span.
The number one recruit in the class of 2012 did not disappoint, connecting on 50 percent of his shots while averaging 18 points per game between the Bruins’ two contests Monday and Tuesday night.
UCLA’s highly touted freshman was not the only one, however, who put on display at the Barclays Center his talents and potential for the first time this young season.
Having played in only six minutes in Georgetown’s season-opener against Duquesne before having to sit out the Hoyas’ second contest against Liberty because of concussion-like symptoms, Otto Porter’s sophomore campaign finally kicked off, and in a big way, in two games on Atlantic Ave.
Porter led a balanced attack in a Hoyas upset win over Muhammad’s No. 11 Bruins, pouring in 18 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks, five assists and three steals in 35 minutes of play.
“Otto’s first full game, if you look at the stat sheet which I normally don’t focus on, was a full game,” Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said. “We’re a better team with him on the court so it’s good to have him back out there.”
Porter’s second game, an overtime loss at the hands of the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers who were tested to say the least in their match ups against Georgia and then again against Georgetown, was not quite up to par with his first full game, but still effective nonetheless. In 43 minutes, the 6-foot-8 forward notched 15 points, grabbed five boards, dished out four assists and added two steals and two blocks as well.
“I think what he can do is he can score a lot of different ways,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. “He’s one of the quicker guys you’re going to see in the post up game. He can play on the perimeter, he’s got a great first step, a relentless rebounder. They’re going to be one of the nation’s leaders in rebounding because of guys like him.”
As is often times the case with big time players, it wasn’t just the production Porter provided for his team but more the timing of it.
With 31 seconds remaining, the Hoyas down four, Porter stepped behind a screen and buried a deep three from the right wing to pull Georgetown within one. About 26 seconds later, with his team down two after an IU free throw, Porter took it strong to the hole and finished at the rim to tie the game and ultimately send it into overtime.
“Porter’s got that ability to play at the rim, he’s got the ability to play at the mid range, he’s got the ability to play around the perimeter,” Crean said, “and that’s the kind of guy who makes it really difficult. He can not only get baskets for himself but he can really distribute the ball to other people.”
Unfortunately for fans in the D.C. area, the clock eventually struck midnight on Georgetown’s cinderella run which saw the Hoyas knock off one ranked team and come close to knocking off a second a day later. Not before, however, the Hoyas sent a message to the rest of the country that they were a team to be reckoned with, led in part by a player whose sophomore season is finally, officially underway.
And if his performance in Brooklyn this week was any indication, JT3 will be hard pressed to indeed remember the motto, trust in otto.