Georgetown Hoyas: This Holiday Season, Be Thankful for Otto Porter

Bryan ToporekFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2012

November 9, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgetown Hoyas forward Otto Porter (22) high fives during the first half against the Florida Gators at the Navy-Marine Corps Classic on board USS Bataan. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

As you gather around this holiday season, reflecting back on what you're thankful for this year, Otto Porter should come to mind rather quickly for Georgetown fans.

If he keeps playing at anywhere near the level he did against UCLA and Indiana, Porter isn't only leaving Georgetown after his sophomore year; he's going to be drafted higher than any Hoya since Jeff Green was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2007 draft.

To say he dominated the Legends Classic would be an understatement. I've watched a vast majority of Georgetown games since 2005 and can't remember a time where a player put up as complete of a stat line as Porter did against UCLA.

He finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, a career-high five blocks, three steals and two three-point field goals in 35 minutes against the No. 11-ranked Bruins, asserting his will on both ends of the court.

He opened each half with a basket and only got better from there. Twice in the second half, as UCLA threatened to cut into Georgetown's seven- or eight-point lead, Porter drained three-point shots, extending the Hoyas' lead to double digits each time.

"Otto's first full game and look at the stat sheet. That was a full game," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said after the game, according to the Associated Press.

Porter struggled in the first half against No. 1 Indiana the next night, only scoring three points on 1-6 shooting in the first 20 minutes of the game.

Whatever JTIII said to Porter during halftime worked like a charm, though, as he finished the game with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, three three-point field goals, two steals and two blocks.

Porter bailed out the Hoyas time and time again in the second half against the No. 1 team in the nation, picking apart Indiana's 2-3 zone by splashing jumpers from the free-throw line.

He scored the Hoyas' last five points in regulation, stepping behind a Nate Lubick screen to nail a three-pointer with 30 seconds left, then forced his way to the basket for a difficult off-balance shot to tie the game with 4.6 seconds remaining.

Georgetown couldn't keep up with Indiana in the overtime period as foul trouble finally caught up to the team, but the Hoyas' performance at the Barclays Center all but guaranteed their berth into the Top 25 post-Thanksgiving.

Porter is the engine that makes those soon-to-be-ranked Hoyas go.

He's the most natural inheritor to the "Jeff Green" role in Georgetown's offense since Green himself.

DaJuan Summers, Hollis Thompson and even Greg Monroe were all miscast in that role during their Georgetown careers, but none of those players were the do-it-all point forward that Green was back in his Hoya days.

In fact, while it's too early to say this with any sort of long-term confidence: Porter might be better than Green in terms of being able to make an impact across the box score.

Over Green's three-year Georgetown career, he averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.2 blocks and .9 steals per game, shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three-point range.

Porter has some work to do if he hopes to catch Green's career averages, especially if he decides to declare for the NBA draft at the end of the 2012-13 season. That's not to say he can't make an equal impact, though.

Porter's last-second shot against Indiana likely conjured the memory of Green's last-second shot against Vanderbilt in the 2007 Sweet 16, a shot Vandy fans are still likely to say Green traveled while taking.

It's the type of shot that most players have absolutely no business hitting, but when it does go down, it can absolutely demoralize an opponent.

That's what Porter brings to Georgetown this year, and that's what makes Georgetown so potentially dangerous.

Indiana bounced back on Tuesday, but Porter and the Hoyas proved that they're a force to be reckoned with in 2012-13. They're going to be competitive in every game they play this season if their play at the Legends Classic is any indication, and Porter will be a large reason why.

When you've got a player who can make his impact felt everywhere on the court, why wouldn't he and his teammates believe they can take down anyone?

Enjoy Porter this year, Hoya fans. Barring a catastrophic injury or other act of God, he's going to declare for the NBA draft after the 2012-13 season.

There's no reason to hold a grudge against him for that. He's proven that he's ready and able to take on the best players in the country.

Instead, just enjoy the ride for his remaining time at Georgetown, and pray that the experience gained in November at the Legends Classic only helps the Hoyas in February and March.