Assessing Michael Porter Jr. and Phil Cofer

March 17, 2018

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I was able to see Michael Porter Jr. and Missouri face off against a very tough, Florida State squad in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.  The Florida State Seminoles played very good defense, as they went on to win by double digits, but Michael Porter Jr. had a strong second half, as he was able to bounce back by scoring 16 points, and he also had 10 rebounds and 3 steals in his team’s loss.

Missouri’s 6-10 freshman forward, Michael Porter Jr. bounced back to have a fairly good showing in his team’s loss to Florida State.  While he showed some rust at times, Porter excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop, and he also excelled as a rebounder and defender when he was on the floor.  Porter did a very good job of scoring on drives to the basket.  He excelled at taking the ball to the rim, especially when he would get a running start to get the ball, and he often scored on layups around the hoop.  Porter also used an overhead ball fake on a baseline drive to score off the glass early on.  On another strong drive that he made, he was able to get an extra free throw on that play.  Porter also showed a good ability to score in transition, as he can take the ball coast to coast to get buckets and free throws for his team.

He also showed a decent ability to score on jumpers when he was on the floor.  Porter really excelled at drawing free throws on jump shots, and he is a crafty player that knows how to draw fouls.  He also made an open pull-up three in the second half.  However, he struggled to make shots consistently from outside of the paint area, as he threw up several airballs, and sometimes he would rush his shots, as he would not always be set when taking them.

Also, Porter displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Though he did not actually pick up an assist in this game, he would look to make the extra pass, and he can throw interior passes as well as kick out to a shooter off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  Also, Porter handled the ball well, as he may possess the ball handling ability of a point forward.  However, he also committed several turnovers, as he had a tendency to throw hasty passes that got intercepted, and sometimes he will try to force a play and rush his decision making that would get him in trouble.

Plus, he did a great job of collecting rebounds when he was on the floor.  He was very active on the glass to haul in many defensive boards, and he showed solid quickness and a great motor to do so.  He also managed to save a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board.  He was called for a push off on an offensive rebound attempt once, but generally Porter Jr. excelled at hauling in bounds in this game.

Porter also defended well, as he played solid defense in his team’s loss to Florida State.  He did a great job of getting steals, as he would heap on loose balls and dive on the ground to help his team collect them, and Porter also yanked the ball away from an opponent once to force a turnover.  Plus, Porter would actively contest shots on drives to force misses, and he was able to alter a shot to nearly come away with a block.  Also, Porter did a good job of tightly defending his man, and he also showed good ball denial skills, as he would actively fight through a screen.  He did commit a couple of fouls, as he can be over-aggressive on close outs.  He also had one bad momentary gamble, as he tried to go for a steal but missed, as an opponent drove by him to throw a pass to set up a fast break score for a shooter. But in general as a whole, Porter did a very good job of making defensive plays for Missouri.

In general, Michael Porter Jr. had a good showing, as he was able to show off a solid all-around game in his team’s loss to Florida State.  He still doesn’t look to be as impressive an athlete that he was in high school, and he was not making explosive plays in this game, but Porter showed off versatile skills and a high basketball IQ.  While there may not be definitive conclusions that could be made on his season, he is a very skilled combo forward that could potentially go in the top 5, as he could end up being a solid player in the NBA.

Florida State’s 6-8 senior forward, Phil Cofer had a fairly good game in his team’s decisive win over Missouri.  While he did not really stand out individually, he made solid plays on both ends of the floor to help get his team a double-digit victory.  Cofer showed a decent ability to score on jumpers in this game.  He was able to make a deep three early on, and he also drew three free throws on another attempt from beyond the arc.  However, he did tend to be streaky with his jump shot as he struggled to make corner threes.  He also missed a contested fadeaway three later on as he attempted to take that shot on two people with the shot clock winding down.  He also took a mid-range shot early on, but that missed as well.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Cofer managed to score on a tip in off of an offensive board once.  Also, he ran the floor to get the ball, and he backed his man down to score on a turnaround jumper.  He did look to score off the dribble once in a half-court set, but he ended up missing the shot.  He also displayed good playmaking skills, as he passed the ball well against Missouri.  Cofer excelled at throwing interior passes, as he was able to find a roll man, and he also threw a lob to a teammate in transition to notch assists.  In addition, he also kicked the ball out to a shooter off the dribble to set up another score.  He did commit a couple of turnovers in this game.  Cofer dropped a high entry pass that was thrown too hard out of bounds, and he also was caught stepping out of bounds on a baseline drive another time.

Plus, Cofer was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor to help his team on the glass.  Also, he played good defense in this game.  Cofer managed to jump a pass to get a steal, and he also drew a charge when defending a drive.  However, he was called for committing a foul on a drive in transition on a separate defensive possession.

In summary, Phil Cofer had a fairly good showing, and he made solid plays within the team system to help Florida State get the win.  Right now, Cofer has a game that may enable him to project into a 3 and D role at the next level, as he could end up being a solid addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Florida State’s 6-4 junior guard, P.J. Savoy did a very good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, as he would often knock down quick, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also has a lot of range on his shot.  Plus, he also knocked down a mid-range shot another time.  He also used a pump fake on a backdoor cut to draw free throws to help his team.  In summary, P.J. Savoy is a sharpshooter that excels at knocking down shots to space the floor for his team.  He could be an Anthony Morrow-type of player in the NBA, as his ability to make threes really helped Florida State get the win over Missouri in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Missouri’s freshman big man, Jontay Porter did not have a great game overall, as he struggled to knock down shots, but he did show some passing and defensive skills when he was on the floor, as he had some good moments in his team’s loss to Florida State.  In this game, he showed off good playmaking skills, as he did a very good job of passing the basketball to set up scores for his teammates.  Porter excelled at passing out of the post, and he also threw a long, no-look outlet pass to set up a fast break score another time.  Porter is an unselfish player that moves the ball well, and he excelled as a ball mover in this game.  He did commit a couple of turnovers though, as he was called for setting a moving screen, and he committed a charging foul off of a drive on a separate possession.

He also played good defense.  Porter showed a knack for blocking shots, as he would swat shots off of drives to force misses.  He also managed to intercept an entry pass to obtain a steal.  Also, Porter would actively contest a variety of shots to force misses.  But sometimes, he would commit fouls, as he would play his man too aggressively at times.  On separate occurrence, he was once late to rotate on a drive, which led his teammate to foul an opponent that time.

Jontay Porter was also able to haul in his fair share of boards, as he was able to collect plenty of defensive rebounds for his team.  However, there was one play where he lost a defensive rebound attempt off of his hands as it went out of bounds.  Though he did not shoot well or score efficiently, Jontay Porter was able to score on a spinning, pull-up, mid-range jump shot off the dribble.  However, he had trouble making threes or scoring in the post, as he had trouble knocking down shots against Florida State.

In summary, Jontay Porter turned in an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Florida State.  He did not shoot the ball nearly as well as he did against Georgia, but he did show off some solid passing and defensive skills when he was on the floor, and he also can handle the basketball.  If he decides to enter the NBA draft, he could end up going in the late first to the second round range on draft day.

Florida State’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Trent Forrest played a solid all-around game, and he especially excelled as a facilitator and defender when he was on the floor.  He is a quick, shifty ball handler that would get scores and free throws on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he also threw solid passes to set up scores for his teammates.

Plus, he also rebounded and defended well.  Forrest did a great job of blocking shots, as he made a chase down block on a drive, and he also swatted a mid-range shot.  He also would pick off passes, and he also stole a ball from a dribble handoff to get steals for his team.  Overall, Forrest played really well for Florida State, as he played a solid all-around game to help get his team the win, and he is a versatile role player that could definitely be a prospect to watch in the future.

Florida State’s 6-5 senior guard, Braian Angola played fairly well in his team’s win over Missouri.  He made quick, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also drew free throws on a drive to show his ability to take the ball to the basket.  He did not look to shoot the ball often, but he was very effective when he did so.  Plus, he also excelled as a ball mover, but he did commit a few turnovers, as one was where he lost a ball when handling it on a drive once.

He also played good defense, as he managed to block a three-point shot due to possessing good leaping ability, timing, and instincts to do so.  In general, Angola played very well for Florida State, and he is an athletic swingman that could potentially project into a 3 and D role at the next level, and he could end up being a good addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Missouri’s 6-3 senior combo guard, Kassius Robertson excelled at knocking down spot-up threes off the catch, as he was able to make six three-pointers in total against Florida State.  He even ran off of a screen once to make them, as he is a deceptively quick player that can get to his spots if he is not tightly guarded.

However, he struggled more to score off the dribble.  He did manage to draw free throws once on a quick drive, but he tended to miss when they would be tightly contested.  Robertson also had one of his three-point shots blocked once, as he had some trouble making shots against longer, more athletic players when they would cover him tightly.

However, he really struggled as a playmaker.  He did show the ability to throw interior passes at times, but Robertson did not actually pick up an assist in his team’s loss to Florida State.  He also was quite turnover prone.  He would throw hasty passes, as one was intercepted, and two more ended up out of bounds.  He also struggled to handle ball pressure at times, as he lost the ball once out of bounds, as he would not always play under control.

Overall, Robertson scored 19 points in his team’s loss to Florida State, and he made 6 threes, but he is not an especially dynamic player, as he did little else when he was on the floor in this game.  He did not really show much passing or ball handling skills, and he even was not called to bring the ball up despite being of point guard size, as Missouri’s head coach Cuonzo Martin would have Jordan Geist or Brett Rau do that instead.  Right now, Robertson’s chances to make an NBA team seem to be unlikely at best, but his jump shot could perhaps get him a possible Portsmouth invite, as his ability to make jumpers could allow him to carve out a career overseas as an off-ball shooter type of player.