Catalon: Every NBA Scout Should Be In Nashville Friday

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. is March's "great unknown"

The DA Show
March 15, 2018 - 12:44 pm

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March Madness is a fun time of year for college basketball players, coaches, fans and analysts, but it’s a stressful time for NBA scouts. With the best players in America playing at the same time all over the country, scouts have to decide which players to see and when. 

Well, they may want to make Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. a priority Friday. That’s because Porter, one of the top prospects in his class, played just 25 minutes all season. The 6-10 freshman played two minutes in Mizzou’s season-opener and underwent spinal surgery in November.

Needless to say, there isn’t much tape on the guy – which makes Porter and No. 8 Missouri (20-12) a tournament wild card.

“I’m fascinated by Michael Porter tomorrow, and I would think NBA scouts would be as well,” CBS Sports broadcaster Andrew Catalon said on The DA Show. “If you’re an NBA scout, how do you evaluate this guy? Obviously he was a great prospect coming out of high school, he played two minutes in the season-opener and then he played 23 minutes last week in the SEC Tournament. That’s it. He’s played a total of 25 minutes the entire season. So if you’re an NBA scout, I would imagine you have to be here in Nashville tomorrow because I don’t know how you’re going to get a good evaluation of this guy in game competition. It’s a great unknown. How will Michael Porter play? He scored a total of 14 points all year, so I can’t win to see how he’s used."

Missouri plays No. 9 Florida State (20-11) Friday at 9:50 p.m. ET. The Tigers will be without their second-leading scorer, Jordan Barnett, who was arrested early Saturday for driving while intoxicated.

“That means Michael Porter will start,” Catalon said. “He’s going to play a lot.”

Then again, Porter would have played a lot regardless.

"I think there’s some questions: Should Cuonzo Martin play him a lot? Play him a little? Mix him in? Does he disrupt the flow of what Missouri’s doing?" Catalon said. "I don’t buy into any of that. If this kid was as good as advertised coming out of high school, you play him tomorrow and you play him a lot against Florida State.”

Porter will also get a chance to play with his brother, Jontay, a 6-11 freshman averaging 10.1 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds.

“Jontay has had an incredible season,” Catalon said. “(It’s been) a little bit overlooked because of all the headlines for Michael.”

If victorious against Florida State, Missouri would likely face No. 1 Xavier (28-5) in the Round of 32 on Sunday.