The Nevada Wolf Pack basketball hype
MWC Get Ready to Meet Trey Porter
If you are not a dyed in the wool Nevada basketball fan you might not know much about Trey Porter. That is certainly understandable considering all the hype over five-star big man Jordan Brown as well as Cody and Caleb Martin, along with Jordan Caroline returning for 1 year more year. When analyst’s breakdown Nevada’s squad, Porter is usually the last probable starter mentioned if he is mentioned at all.
The reason MWC conference basketball fans and coaches need to get to know Porter and get to know him in a hurry is quite simple. This guy is amazing, and his potential this year is off the charts. We will get into all that latter though, first, let’s take a look at his past as that might help reveal what the future may have in store for this Virginia native.
Playing his High School ball at Potomac High in Dumfries Virginia Porter was first team all-state his senior year and co-Virginia 5A player of the year with teammate Randy Haynes. Porter was impressive enough his senior year to get offers from George Mason, Hofstra, Florida Gulf Coast and ODU. George Mason was close to home and Porter felt comfortable with the coaching staff so it was a rather easy decision for him to select George Mason.
Although scouting sites had Porter listed at 190 pounds, when he arrived at George Mason his weight was 172. For a young man 5’10 that’s a good weight, but at 6’10 Porter was thin. His freshman year was quite an adjustment for Porter who saw limited court time and even more limited production. Court time was hampered early in his career by having to learn how to manage his diabetes, a disease he has had since he was a young boy.
George Mason went 9-22 Porters freshman season and after four years of frustration the Athletic Department decided to part ways with Head Coach Paul Hewitt. Having garnered little playing time as a freshman, coupled with Hewitt’s firing, Porter decided it was time to reconsider his basketball future. When ODU expressed interest if became a rather easy decision for Porter, he had been recruited by Jeff Jones coming out of High School and ODU was still relatively close to home.
Having to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, Porter hit the books and the weight room with a passion. The results speak for themselves, he made the Dean’s list that fall and had bulked up to over 215 pounds by the time the 2016-17 season had rolled around. The focus on nutrition and strength was enabling Porter to have a better handle on his diabetes, allowing him to practice longer and harder.
His sophomore season Porter averaged less than a minute more per game than he had his freshman year at George Mason, but his production almost doubled and was named ODU Most Improved Player award. His 1.5 blocks per game led the team was sixth in Conference USA, while playing less than 15 minutes per game.
Last season Porter moved into a starting role for the Monarchs and quickly showed he deserved to be a starter. For the year he averaged 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game, and he also increased his court time to just under 24 minutes per game. He was now beginning to show the promise he had exhibited in his High School days. ODU had helped Porter in many ways, but as a potential grad transfer, he decided to ask and received his release.
A myriad of Power 5 schools were immediately interested, Porter now had the chance to showcase his talents wherever he thought that he would be a good fit. Beating out schools like Maryland, Indiana, and Arizona, Nevada landed the big man on April 25th this year. Not long after Nevada was able to snatch up five-star recruit Jordan Brown, once again going up against Power 5 schools. There was speculation that corralling Porter, a true post player, was instrumental in Brown’s decision to attend Nevada as Brown had expressed a strong desire to play the four position.
When Porter arrived at George Mason his vertical was measured at 30 inches, last month at Nevada it was measured at 45.5 inches. In 4 years Porter had increased his vertical by 50% and had added 40 lbs. Physically Porter bears little resemblance to the thin High School player at Potomac High that relied on his height and raw talent.
Porter has great hands, handles low bounce passes into the post with the adroitness of a first baseman scooping balls out of the dirt. He is agile for a man his size and possesses rare athleticism that has ended up getting him into foul trouble from time to time as he sometimes relies on that athleticism instead of sound fundamentals and footwork defensively. What can we expect to see from Porter this year at Nevada?
Don’t expect Porter to rack up 35 minutes plus a game this year for Nevada, and it is not just a question of stamina, Nevada has a ton of players that so far have earned playing time. Last season Nevada often played like a team in foul trouble, and with their very short bench, they were always just a couple of whistles away from impending disaster. That will not be a major concern this season, so expect Porter to intimidate, alter and block shots while on the court. On the offensive end of the court expect Nevada to use the lob pass to take advantage of Porter’s size and jumping ability.
While the Martin twins, Caroline and Brown have been getting most of the preseason attention it is the addition of Porter that has radically transformed the makeup of this Nevada team. Rim protection and defensive rebounding were the glaring weaknesses on last years Sweet 16 team and Porter was brought in to address those problems. Teamed with Brown, an exceptional passer for a big man, expect Nevada to dominate on the interior at times this year, something that should go a long way to shortening those scoring droughts that plagued Nevada from time to time last season.
Get to know the name now so that when the season rolls around you aren’t wondering “where did that guy come from?” Porter is likely to be featured on ESPN’s Sportscenter top 10 plays as much as any Nevada player this year, extending to nearly 13 feet to make bodacious blocks as well as on the receiving end of a number of alley-oop passes.