JOHN: Michael Porter progressing nicely

KSR caught up with Gary Porter, coach of Modesto Christian High School and coach and father of Michael Porter, the 6-foot-2 guard that will join the Wildcats in the 2006-07 season. Coach Porter gave us an update on Michael's progress.

With the Wildcats losing three of its last four games, heading into its final five regular season games with three of those against top 25 ranked teams, almost everyone that follows Kentucky basketball has grave concerns about the outcome of the season and the future for that matter.

But there are at least two people that remain very optimistic about Kentucky basketball that have a stake in its future. Michael Porter, 6-foot-2, 180 lb. guard from Modesto Christian High School, and his father Gary, coach of the same high school, have followed the Cats closely all season long.

"I talk to the staff frequently," coach Porter said, "and the team is going through some troubles, no doubt. But the staff have a very good handle on what those issues are and how to deal with them. I know the fan base gets restless at times, especially in Kentucky, but they need to have faith in their coaching staff."

Gary Porter says that Michael watches every game he can and follows the team as closely as his schedule will allow, "Michael and I both know that he has what it takes to help this team out," Porter said, "and he remains anxious to get out there and contribute in any way he can."

But Michael is taking care of business for Modesto Christian at the moment, and that team is enjoying tremendous success. "We are 23-4 right now," Porter said, "and we are ranked #1 in Northern California and ranked #16 overall in the nation for high schools. We just beat the number 2 team, Mission Prep, by over 20 points. Michael plays a significant role in the team‘s success. This may very well be the best team I have ever coached."

"Michael is having a bang up year," coach Porter added. "He is averaging 15.5 points per game, eight assists per game, five rebounds and three steals. He is providing great leadership."

Michael has been developing nicely this season and believes Wildcats fans will be pleasantly surprised with what they see next season, "He has gotten a great deal stronger, for one thing and his shooting has really improved. He had been shooting about 35% on his three point shots, but in the last ten games, he has been really doing well, connecting on about 48% of his three-point attempts - and that's shooting five or six shots a game. He has been making great decisions with the basketball all season long. I pretty much play him the entire game. He really makes our offense run better."

The Modesto Christian offense is generating about 85 points per game, but it suffered some when Michael sat out three games with an injury, "We went from 84-85 points a game to about 70 points per game with Michael out," Porter said. "Michael plays whatever role is needed. In one game, our leading scorer (former Wildcats target Adrian Oliver) was getting double teamed. Michael scored 18 point in the first half to make them pay. But Michael is a floor general. He thinks pass first, shoot second. He is a real team player. I believe that is the quality Tubby Smith saw in him. We have four potential Division I players on this team and Michael keeps them all involved."

Michael is fully healed from the ankle injury he suffered last year, but still plans to get to campus in June to begin strength and conditioning. Kentucky Sports Report will be doing a feature article on Michael in an upcoming summer issue.

AllWildcats Top Stories