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TERRY PORTER'S SON, MALCOLM, MAKING HIS OWN IMPACT



TRIBUNE PHOTO: KERRY EGGERS - Malcolm Porter (left), a senior standout for Jesuit High, has given his father, Terry, a former Trail Blazers great, plenty of thrills already, even if dad says it's nerve-racking watching his son play basketball.It’s not easy when you’re playing high school basketball in Portland as the son of the greatest point guard in Trail Blazers history.

But Malcolm Porter is making out just fine as he tries to live up to the family name established by his father, Terry Porter.

The 6-3, 185-pound senior guard is the leading scorer and best player on a Jesuit team that hopes to make a run at a Class 6A championship this winter.

Porter scored a team-high 14 points — albeit only one in the second half — as the Crusaders squandered a 13-point third-quarter lead and fell to Foss High of Tacoma 60-57 in the opening round of the 20th annual Les Schwab Invitational Sunday at Liberty High.

The youngest of Terry and Susie Porter’s three children also had seven rebounds, three steals and two assists in 27 minutes, but took only one shot in the second half as the Crusaders dropped into the loser’s bracket of the prestigious holiday tournament.

On Monday, the younger Porter was even more effective, collecting 29 points, 7 steals and 6 rebounds to lead Jesuit (5-2) over Liberty 64-61 in double overtime. He sank seven of 13 3-pointers and had a four-point play to send the game to the second OT.

Terry Porter is a living legend in Portland, where he spent 10 of his 17 NBA seasons, played in two All-Star teams and helped the Blazers to a pair of NBA finals.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me,” Malcolm Porter acknowledges. “Everywhere I go, being Terry Porter’s son is kind of hard. But I just play my game, and it’s fun. Actually, it’s an advantage. My dad has been there for me my whole life. It’s great to know that.”

It’s not easy on the senior Porter, either, watching as Malcolm and older brother Franklin follow in his footsteps on the hardcourt.

“I get more nervous watching the boys play than when I played,” says Porter, 52, now an ambassador for the Blazers. “I have no control over anything they’re doing out there. As a player, it’s on you. Watching from the stands as a parent, I’m nervous for every shot, every time at the free-throw line.

“You want your kid to do so well. Sometimes it’s a challenge for them, having my name. But it’s been great watching them. It brings a big smile to my face to see them out there competing and having such passion for the game I love.”

The Porters kept their house in Dunthorpe while Terry pursued a coaching career that included head coaching jobs with Milwaukee and Phoenix and his most recent stint as lead assistant for Rick Adelman with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Franklin, two years older than Malcolm, played as a backup on varsity as a sophomore at Jesuit, then spent his final two years of high school at a prep school in Tilton, N.H., leading the Rams to a 28-4 record and the private-schools state title last season. Franklin, a 6-4, 210-pound guard, is now a freshman reserve at Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif. He has played sparingly but had 15 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes in a 92-36 win over Southern Utah.

Malcolm was a swing player on the junior varsity and varsity teams as a sophomore at DeLaSalle prep school in Minneapolis — winning a state championship at the same time his brother was claiming one in New Hampshire. Malcolm then transferred to Jesuit, leading the Crusaders to the state title game as a junior. Porter was first-team all-state and the Metro League co-player of the year.

“He had an unbelievable year,” his father says. “Nobody imagined he would make that kind of an impact after not playing very much on a (DeLaSalle) team that was really loaded.”

“I was very humbled and honored to get that as a junior,” Malcom Porter says. “That was a great time for me last year.”

Jesuit lost three seniors from its team that lost to West Linn in the state title game last year. Porter has taken over the leadership role this season, scoring more than 30 points in early-season victories over Jefferson and Central Catholic.

“In order for us to beat high-quality opponents, Malcolm is going to have to play very well for us, and he has,” coach Gene Potter says. “He has stepped up and done a nice job on both ends of the floor.

“It’s a different role for him this year, which he is working his way into. As a returning starter and senior, he has to be a leader for us. He didn’t have to rebound or defend the other team’s better players as much last year. There is going to be a bit of a transition period for him, but at the offensive end, he is playing incredibly well.”

Porter has taken to being more outspoken with his teammates this season.

“Last year, I was more quiet,” he says. “I let the seniors doing the talking, but now I have big shoes to fill. I have to talk to the juniors and sophomores and mentor them.”

Porter says he has learned a lot from his older brother (their sister, Brianna, 23, is a student at the University of Michigan).

“Franklin makes me a better person,” Malcolm says. “When we’re together, he has me play one-on-one with him. He took me under his wing and got me better.”

Who is the better player in their one-on-one battles?

“He’s bigger than me, so he gets me most of the time,” Malcolm says. “I’ve gotten him before, but usually it’s him.”

Malcolm also has learned from his father, who spent much time last summer working with him on his game.

“I worked on my ball-handling and shooting with my dad,” he says. “We went to the gym twice a day to get up shots, and I spent a lot of time lifting weights, working on getting stronger.”

Both of the Porter boys are ahead of where their father was at the same age growing up in Milwaukee. Terry was a 6-foot forward who didn’t play school basketball until his junior year at South Division High and started only his senior season.

“I didn’t have confidence in my skill set,” Terry says. “I played on a boys and girls club team as a freshman and sophomore.”

Porter blossomed under Dick Bennett at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, growing to 6-3 and twice earning NAIA All-American honors. His breakout opportunity came after his junior season, when he surprised everyone by advancing to the end of the 1984 Olympic team tryouts, sent home in the final cut with the likes of Charles Barkley and John Stockton.

“The way Coach (Bobby) Knight treated me through the whole process was amazing,” Porter says. “That was really the springboard for me being able to be in position for an NBA career.”

Porter was taken with the 24th pick in the first round of the 1985 draft by Portland, becoming a starter in his second season with the Blazers.

“I was a late bloomer,” he says, “and I think Malcolm is that way, too.”

Malcolm’s style is understated. His talents don’t reach out and grab you, and he’s not a great shooter. But he drives to the basket and finishes, is a willing and able passer and understands the game well. Potter’s motion offense means the shots are evenly distributed between the starters, so Porter gets his shots only when the opportunities are there.

“He’s a lot faster than I was at that point in my career,” Terry says. “Both of my boys, when you talk about their skill level, they surpass me at this point. They shoot it better than I did, get to the rim better than I did.

“Last year, Malcolm had to kind of find his way, trying to see where he fit into the scheme of coach Potter’s system. Once he got his rhythm, he took off. He started shooting the ball well and with more confidence. And the team had a great year. I don’t think anyone would have imagined the success they had. They hit their stride at the right time.”

Schools such as Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, Grand Canyon and Boise State have expressed interest. Oregon State assistant coaches Kerry Rupp and Steve Thompson were in the stands Sunday to watch him. But no scholarship offers have come yet.

“I feel like I’m capable of playing D-I basketball,” Malcolm says.

His high school coach isn’t counting him out.

“I certainly think he has the skill set and the body,” Potter says. “Malcolm is going to give himself a chance to play at that level.”

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Twitter: @kerryeggers

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