Southeast basketball player is out for the season
Michael Porter, a junior guard at Southeast Missouri State University, has been surrounded by basketball his entire life.
He is meant and made to play basketball, but an unfortunate series of events has allowed Porter to compete for just one season of basketball after four years of college.
Porter grew up around a family of basketball legends, whose names are scattered throughout the Missouri high school record book and included on many state championship teams, and because of this he felt the pressure to perform on a collegiate level.
"My dad Melvin Porter played at Drury in Springfield," Porter said.
His uncle Otto Porter played for Southeast and his cousin Otto Porter Jr. currently plays at Georgetown University, and is projected to be a first-round pick in this year's NBA draft.
Porter began his collegiate career away from home at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo.
"I choose to go this direction because it is the city my father played in," Porter said.
He sat out all but six games his freshman year at Missouri State due to a tear in his hamstring and in June of 2010 was involved in a single-car accident and sustained serious injuries.
"I was involved in a serious car accident in which I dislocated my hip. I then came to Southeast and was very thankful that coach [Dickey] Nutt took a huge risk on me and allowed me to continue my career," Porter said. "I will be forever grateful to the Nutt family for giving me a second chance to play the game I love."
"I wanted Michael as soon as I started coaching here, but he had already committed to Missouri State," Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said. "Michael had the background of being a winner, as well as did well in the classroom, which were both things I was looking for to build this program off of."
Since Porter was a transfer from another Division I school he had to sit out an entire season at Southeast before playing.
Porter had a bone spur in his ankle a few months before his first season on the court for Southeast as well as torn labrum from playing pickup basketball at the beginning of the school year at the recreation center, but he decided to play anyway "because I was tired of sitting out for injuries," Porter said.
Porter played in 31 games last season, four of which he started, and averaged 4.4 points and 16 minutes a game.
This season Porter fractured his foot two weeks before the season started in Kansas. After rehabbing and strengthening his foot, he came back to play in his first game on Jan. 19 against Tennessee Tech but re-fractured his foot in the game and will sit out the rest of this season.
"I had a Jones fracture and was devastated about the injury," Porter said. "I looked forward to having a breakout season after slowly coming on last season. I felt horrible after finding out I re-fractured my foot. I feel like God has other plans for me whether it's me playing next season or becoming a future coach."
"It was very disappointing for both him and us when he re-injured his foot. Him going down was a big blow to our program because of his heart and soul for the game," Nutt said. "But I told Michael from the beginning that he just has to deal with the cards he was dealt and accept the role he has now been given."
A huge factor in Porter returning to Cape Girardeau, where he was born, was his family, not just the one he grew up with, but his two sons.
He said "basketball has been a way of life for the Porters," but he has found importance in other parts of his life, like being a father for his kids.
"I decided to come home because I wanted to be a father figure to my first son, and that was more important than basketball," Porter said.
Porter has two sons, Leland, 3, and Michael Porter Jr, 1. Having kids and being a student-athlete has been a challenge and he said it has matured him in many ways. It has taught him to decide what is important in his life and what excess needs to be cut out.
"I feel like an old man sometimes, but at least I'm taking care of my responsibilities," Porter said.
"I love both my sons dearly," Porter said. "I try to balance school, sports and spending time with my kids by cutting out less important hobbies and praying to God for help. I believe God helps me through every adversity that I face."