Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Michael Porter Jr. is returning to the scene of the crime.
The Father Tolton junior will be competing in the Joe Machens Great 8 Classic from Dec. 28-30, the same tournament that last year catapulted him to No. 1 on SportsCenter’s list of Top 10 plays.
On a transition play in last year’s third-place game, Porter launched himself from the red “LADY JAYS” insignia just in front of the free-throw line of Fleming Fieldhouse. He went over two bewildered Raytown South defenders, slammed home the one-handed dunk with his fully extended right arm and landed in the world of viral videos.
Not that he knew it then.
“I didn’t even know anyone had gotten it on video,” Porter said, “until a dude came up to me and was like, ‘Yo, I got your dunk on video. Do you want me to send it to you?’”
The dude sent him the video and Porter posted a Vine to Twitter with a flushed face emoji as the caption.
“It just kind of took off from there,” he said. “It was crazy.”
Porter began getting direct messages from ESPN employees, and that night he was featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 for the first time.
Now, nearly a year later, the Vine has been looped more than 19 million times and the tweet has been retweeted more than 2,000 times.
“It was cool,” he said, “just seeing it blow up on Twitter, seeing it all over the Internet. It was really, really cool.”
It wasn’t the last SportsCenter appearance for Porter, one of the highest-ranked recruits in the 2017 class. He made his Top 10 return in August when he nearly pulled down the hoop during an Under Armour Elite 24 game. Playing on an aircraft carrier in Brooklyn, N.Y., Porter and Kentucky commit Bam Adebayo simultaneously finished off a putback dunk, much to the rim’s dismay.
Tolton took third in last year’s Great 8 Classic, beating Raytown South in the third-place game. Porter scored 26 points in the contest, surpassing 1,000 points in his career.
Led by Porter and his sophomore brother, Jontay, Tolton will begin play in the Great 8 today against Joplin. The Trailblazers then play either Jefferson City or Kettering (Ohio) Fairmont.
“Tournaments are always really fun,” Porter said. “So we’re looking to take home a championship.”
And another appearance on SportsCenter, right?
“I’m going to try to put on a show,” he said. “But we’ll see.”