USC entered the 2018 offseason forecasting inevitable roster turnover. The expected departures of Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewert stung, and lingering thought that Chimezie Metu would ride out his senior season was a comforting fiction. Just like that, the projected lineup looked uncertain, and any hope of success seemed elusive.
That’s until Kevin Porter Jr. announced his commitment to the Trojans, their first five-star recruit since Demar DeRozan in 2008.
As the media sweetheart of USC’s incoming recruiting class, Porter brought an unprecedented amount of expectation to Galen Center. And as the only freshman to see the court versus Robert Morris last night, here’s some praise, critique, and first impressions from his anticipated debut.
Stats: 24 minutes, 6/7 field goals, 2/2 three-point field goals, 15 points, 3 TO’s, 1/3 FT
Praise: Porter proved many skeptics wrong last night. A point of emphasis and a possible red flag was his shooting mechanics, but he quelled any significant worries, shooting 6/7 from the field, and 2/2 on three-point attempts.
Critique: We saw the typical “freshman sloppiness” in his first handful of trips down the court. Porter had three turnovers and a hard foul on a block attempt, though he cleaned up as the game progressed.
First Impression: Porter performed as advertised. Yes, it wasn’t a power-six opponent, but he passes the eye-test with flying colors and fans should expect him to be a starter by mid-season. Especially with Bennie Boatwright and Elijah Weaver battling injury Porter will quickly become the alpha on the Trojan roster.
Side note: To limit Porter to a “dunker” is a blemish on his ability. However, many would like to see him use the athleticism that made him such a touted five-star recruit.