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Meet the new Cats: Michael Porter

Only after a down year would a rough and tumble, meat and potatoes, thoroughly Kentucky player like incoming UK freshman Michael Porter be considered an afterthought.

The son of Chuck Hayes' California state title-winning coach and a former star quarterback, Porter may be missing the arbitrary recruiting credentials, but by all accounts is not missing the on-the-court skills or the leadership necessary to make an impact.

Many fans who follow recruiting purely online and from five-star rankings aren't impressed with Porter's two-star rating and low profile, but he piloted his team to a state semis finish, owns a California state title, and has impressed early this summer with his attention to work and to lifting. No doubt this goes back to his football days.

While his exact prep numbers were unavailable, based on newspaper reports and first-hand accounts, Porter posted solid steals totals, showing the sort of focus on defense that will prove Tubby a soothsayer if Porter is able to provide quality backup minutes for Ramel Bradley in the '06-07 season.

While Michael Porter has a similar pedigree to former Cat Adam Williams, his opponents were of a much higher quality ...

As a pure shooter, Porter looks on film to have a good outside shot, but a long delivery, something that will undoubtedly have to be worked on as he progresses at UK.

To the casual observer -- which would include most pundits and fans -- Porter looks like a good, if uninspiring, addition to a good, if uninspiring, incoming class. However, the gut tells me that there is something more to this kid. Yes, on paper there are similarities to the recently-departed Adam Williams, including being a coach's son, an "athletic marvel" and a low recruiting profile. But Williams played against suspect West Virginia talent and it showed in his lack of development. Porter's high school team included at least two other Division I signees, not to mention the underclassmen who have yet to reach that stage. Porter also had to compete against some genuine Golden State talent.

Not playing AAU tournaments and a nagging ankle injury before his senior year has more to do with Porter's recruiting resume than anything.

Expect Porter to show up a few times, especially early, as the more heralded Derrick Jasper and Jodie Meeks also find their SEC legs. While many are expecting very little from Porter before he's a junior, count this writer as one who thinks there may be more to the heady quarterback, something the Pat Sparkses and Anthony Eppses of the world also had in droves.