NBA Draft Blog Interview with Michael Porrini

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With 60 spots in the NBA Draft, players need to find ways to draw the attention of the various teams.  Often, if you excel at one particular thing, teams will start to pay attention.  However, it is often through numbers – points, rebounds, blocks, assists – where attention is grabbed.  What happens though if what you excel at is being a defender.  I’m not talking about a shot-blocker or a big guy who pushes people away from the basket.  I am talking about a high-level lockdown perimeter defender; a guy you know you can put on the other team’s best player and you trust him to do what is needed to stop him.  Possibly, he may have a high number of steals, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  Kent State won 46 games over the last 2 seasons, and one of the major reasons was the defense of guard Michael Porrini.  Whatever Kent State needed him to do – he averaged 9 points, 5 rebounds, and almost 5 assists per game – he did, while also usually guarding the opponent’s best player, and not just opposing guards.  I had the chance to talk to Michael, who is in Las Vegas training at Impact, about his defensive mindset, the development of his game, and more:

Michael on how his game developed in college:

“Coming out of high school, I wasn’t highly recruited because I was a 2 sport guy, football and basketball.  I didn’t get the chance to play basketball year-round that a lot of guys I competed against did.  At the time, Western Carolina seemed like a good fit for me.  My freshman year, I had a decent year, and played some big games at Indiana, Illinois and other top teams.  I had to carry the team a lot, so I had to mature early.  I spent some time at different junior colleges, and I had to adjust to a totally different game, while still focusing on getting back to Division I.  Kent State was a winning program, was well-coached, and was close to home.  Also, my game was a good fit for what they did.  I learned to play tough and to be a team leader, while also working on improving myself.”

 

Michael on his strengths as a player: 

“Right now, I would have to say defense is my biggest strength.  I am versatile and can guard many different positions.  In college, I would guard the 1-4, but that could change in the NBA.  I know I can guard whoever I need to, and I will do whatever the coaches think we need to win.”

 

Michael on what parts of his game he still wants to improve:

“Going into this season, critics would say I couldn’t hit the 3, but I started to fix that this year, and the next step will be to hit it consistently.  I know I can do everything better, play as more of a power guard.  I can learn to hit more pull-ups and mid-range shots, and become a better finisher.”

Michael on how he developed his defensive prowess:

“It comes from my football mentality.  We were always taught if the ball was out there, go get it.  I love to take my defense and turn it into offense.  A quick steal or turnover leads to a fast break and an easy basket.  Plays like that can change the game quickly.  I love to find those big moments when I can affect the game.”

Michael on what role he can fill immediately for any team:

“I am little older (23) than a lot of the guys coming out now, so I think I can show them what I know.  I play with determination, will always fight, and never give up.  I always want to learn more and will go out and do whatever is needed to win.”

 

Michael on what he wants teams and fans to know about him:

“I feel I was overlooked in high school.  People don’t realize that I played on a lot of great teams that won games and set records.  I am a team player and will always compete.  If I get the opportunity, I will bring hard work and positive energy every day.  That is all I know what to do, I just need the opportunity to go with it.”


I want to thank Michael for his time and I wish him the best of luck as he looks to fulfill his dream of getting to the NBA.  I also want to thank his agent, Dino Pergola of HOF Player Representatives, for helping to set up this interview.  With over 300 Division I teams, and many more quality players at other levels, it is easy for very good players to get overlooked.  While he played on some very good Kent State teams, not getting to the NCAA Tournament may have lessened his immediate opportunities, but when you have a part of the game which you excel at, the chances will come.  Michael is a top-notch defender, but can contribute offensively, and he should find pro teams paying attention very soon.

 

Check back in the coming weeks for more great interviews and scouting reports as we head towards the 2012 NBA Draft.  Follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog – for updates, leave your comments below, or feel free to email me at [email protected]

 

 

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