Best friends, hometown heroes
CHICAGO--Trae Young will always remember the day he met the nation's No. 1 basketball recruit for the very first time. Toward the end of their freshman year of high school, much younger and less skilled at the time, a lanky small forward named Michael Porter Jr. joined forces with Young at the Nike Elite 100 camp in St. Louis.
The event's main purpose was to serve as a place for high school players to gain notoriety, boost their status and compete against the top players in the country. But for Young and Porter Jr., it became the birthplace of one of the strongest basketball relationships on the prep basketball circuit.
Young is a 6-foot-2 point guard prospect from Norman, Oklahoma. He grew up watching Blake Griffin dunk and Buddy Hield shoot their Oklahoma teams to deep postseason runs. Porter Jr. lived in Columbia, Missouri from 2010-2016, regularly attending Mizzou games throughout middle school and high school, witnessing the Tigers' farewell tour in the Big 12 up close. His story is well-documented around the Show-Me State, having ties to the school in the form of an aunt, two sisters and a father.
Porter Jr.'s all-around game and size matched well with Young's ball-handling, vision and three-point shooting. Over the years, their games and their friendship began to develop. Even when they weren't playing together, they talked almost every day, either through text, a phone call or social media.
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