Jontay Porter is reclassifying

It might be the worst kept secret in Columbia: Mizzou Men’s Basketball has one of the best recruiting classes in the country. Things just got even better with 5-star recruit Jontay Porter added to the mix. But how was it possible for the power forward from the class of 2018 to leave high school early and come back home?

With an incoming freshmen class loaded with the likes of Michael Porter Jr., C.J. Roberts, Jeremiah Tilmon and Blake Harris, it’s nearly impossible to criticize the recruiting that Cuonzo Martin and his staff have done thus far.

But the MU Men’s Basketball program isn’t done yet.

Five-star power forward Jontay Porter is on his way to play for MU. In other words, the 6-foot, 9-inch, 225-pound Columbia native is coming back home. Porter grew up playing basketball with Tigers of the past, like during practices to the joking dismay of Laurence Bowers. He now joins his brother, Michael, Jr., to round out Cuonzo Martin’s first recruiting class as the Tigers head coach — not a bad start, huh?

Jontay is the No. 12 ranked prospect in the country on the Rivals 150 rankings for the class of 2018. But by reclassifying, he’s graduating high school a year early to play for Mizzou in what would be his senior year of high school. Mizzou fans … confused yet? We’re undoubtedly glad that it’s happening, but how exactly is it possible?

Reclassifying can mean a few things for high school athletes: making a conscious decision to be “held back”; registering with a graduating class later than his or her original with the purpose of gaining a year to develop; or, in Jontay’s case, choosing to graduate early.

Michelle B. Hosick, the associate director of NCAA public and media relations, said that as long as a student meets certain NCAA requirements, they can leave high school early and head to college.

“All incoming student-athletes must meet core course requirements set by NCAA member schools as well as earn an ACT/SAT test score that corresponds to the student’s core course GPA on the sliding scale,” Hosick said in an email.

For high school students trying to reclassify, there’s a “Sweet 16” they must conquer before even attempting to play in one. The NCAA requires 16 core courses to be completed in high school before a student is eligible to reclassify, including English, math, natural or physical science, social science, foreign language, philosophy and comparative religion.

Students are also allowed to work on core courses before ninth grade, and classes such as algebra 1 or introductory languages can even be completed before high school to count toward the required 16.

“If a student meets all of these criteria, he or she can be certified by the Eligibility Center, whether it’s with [their] graduating class or earlier,” Hosick says. “This would be akin to a high school senior graduating in December and enrolling in college for the Spring semester, just a full academic year early in this (Jontay’s) case.”

By completing that sweet (and required) 16 and earning a sufficient score on the ACT or SAT, Jontay is able to take the last scholarship Coach Martin has to offer.

And for Missouri fans, there’s no one we’d rather have accept it. Welcome home, Jontay.


Photo: Jontay Porter Twitter