Porter leaves Missouri State

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin announced Monday that forward Michael Porter requested and was granted a release from his scholarship.

The redshirt freshman from Sikeston, Missouri, cited personal reasons for ending his association with the Bears. His announcement comes just over two months after a serious, single-car accident hospitalized him on June 9, putting his playing future in jeopardy.

"Tomorrow is never promised," Porter said. "The past few months have helped me prioritize things in my life. Whether or not I am able to play basketball again, I want to stay close to home. I love the Missouri State program, but I have a son now, and being a father figure is more important than ever."

Martin said he respects Porter's decision and appreciates his hard work while with the program.

"We wish Mike the best and respect where his priorities are," Martin said. "He has been through a lot this year, and we are grateful for his contributions."

Porter's roller coaster ride of a freshman season also included an emergency appendectomy and a torn hamstring that forced him to miss all but six games, ultimately earning him a medical redshirt. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in a reserve role that saw him average just over 11 minutes per contest. He scored a team-high 16 points in the team's 75-62 road win at Arkansas Little Rock on December 2, and notched five rebounds against Air Force at JQH Arena on December 5.

Despite the trials and tribulations that led him to making what he calls ''the most difficult decision'' of his life, Porter says he would not change a thing about his involvement with the Missouri State program.

"Coach Martin is the best coach I have ever had," Porter said. "I owe so much to him and the staff, to my teammates, and to the great fans at Missouri State. I will always be a Bear. With or without me, Missouri State is going to have a great season, and I wish nothing but the best for the team."

Porter said he plans on continuing his education at Southeast Missouri State this fall. Southeast is located about 35 miles north of Sikeston in Cape Girardeau. He also said he plans to take his physical recovery from the accident very slow and rates the chances of ever playing basketball again at 50-50.

"I love the game, and it would be hard to walk away," Porter explained. "That's why I am taking everything very slow."