Is Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr. the Most Underrated Player in College Basketball

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 18, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 16:  Otto Porter #22 of the Georgetown Hoyas shoots the ball against the Belmont Bruins during the second round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament on March 16, 2012 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Georgetown Hoyas have become the talk of the town in Big East circles. John Thompson's team has won seven consecutive contests, climbing the conference ladder to a first-place tie with Syracuse and Marquette. 

Versatile forward Otto Porter Jr. has spearheaded the Hoyas recent assault on Big East rivals. The 6'8" sophomore has vaulted from supplemental scorer to conference Player of the Year candidate in his second collegiate season. 

Porter, who led Scott County Central to three Missouri state championships, is at the forefront of Georgetown's best regular season since 2008. He starred in spurts during the first half of the season before proving himself as a consistent scoring threat through six weeks of Big East action. 

Porter impressed as a freshman, averaging 10 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes of action per game. He finished fourth on the team in scoring and led the Hoyas in rebounds as Georgetown journeyed to the NCAA Tournament's second round. 

Porter took on the role of go-to guy at the start of his sophomore season and hasn't shied away from it since. He leads the Hoyas in scoring (15.3 points per game), rebounds (7.9), steals (1.8) and three-point shooting (44 percent), while ranking second on the team in blocks. 

Perhaps more impressive than Porter's season long consistency is the way he has handled himself in Big East games. The 19-year-old playmaker has exceeded the 20-point plateau four times against conference opponents, displaying occasional dominance on the boards. 

Porter is averaging 18.3 points per game in Georgetown's last 10 games. The Hoyas are 9-1 during that span, lending plenty of credence to his Player of the Year candidacy. 

He has accumulated six double-doubles this season, including a 17-point, 12-rebound display in a victory over fifth-ranked Louisville. Porter is shooting 50 percent from the floor this season. 

The sophomore was selected to the preseason All-Big East First Team, so no one is necessarily shocked by the way he has ascended among conference elites. Still, Porter's ability to routinely fill the stat sheet is special.

He ranks highly among conference contemporaries in several categories. Porter is in the mix of Big East leaders in points (11th), rebounds (third), field goal percentage (ninth), steals (seventh), blocks (15th) and three-point shooting (second). 

Porter has quickly proven to be a complete package on both ends of the court for Coach Thompson and company. 

"Otto is Otto," Thompson told Washington Examiner reporter Craig Stouffer.

 "He's reliable. He's going to be there every night. He's every day. Some guys aren't every day. Otto Porter is every single, solitary day. He has been for a year and a half now. I don't anticipate that changing throughout his career, period. Is he being a little more aggressive, assertive right now? Probably. But I don't think there's been any big swings in how he's performed."

The Big East basketball community continues to take notice. 

Porter was named Big East Player of the Week on Feb.18.

He was sensational in two pivotal Georgetown victories last week. Porter poured in 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds in a win over first-place Marquette, then scored 16 in a road victory at Cincinnati

During that two-game span, Porter hit all 14 of his free throw attempts. The sophomore is playing like a seasoned conference vet ready to make his impact during March Madness.

People recognized Porter as a rising talent at the finish of his freshman year. Perhaps they'll say he's the Big East's best player by the end of a sensational sophomore season.