The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Alumni Roundup: Porter Jr. makes up for lost time

161 days ago
SEC Network
Photo: AP Photo/Kevin C. Cox

The Southeastern Conference is known for its athletic excellence at the collegiate level, but so many SEC student-athletes find success among the professional ranks as well. From the NFL to Major League Baseball and everything in between, the SEC sits at the pinnacle of developing professional stars. Here are a few SEC alumni in this week's headlines:

Porter Jr. makes up for lost time

For former Missouri player Michael Porter Jr., it has been a rookie NBA season two years in the making. But now it appears Porter Jr. has been well worth the wait for the Nuggets, who drafted him No. 14 overall in 2018.

The 6-foot-10 forward is coming off quite a week, which began with a 37-point, 12-rebound performance in a Denver win over the Thunder. He thus became the first Nuggets rookie since Carmelo Anthony to record 35 points and 10 rebounds - and Anthony's rookie season was 2003-04.

Porter Jr. did not stop there. Two nights later, he became the first rookie in NBA history with 30 points, 15 rebounds and five 3-pointers in a Denver win over the Spurs. Porter hit 11 of 19 field-goal attempts overall and was 5 of 9 on threes.

The next night, Porter recorded 27 points and 12 rebounds against Portland, becoming the first rookie with three consecutive 25-point double-doubles since Pau Gasol in 2002. Porter then closed out his huge week with 23 points and 11 rebounds in a double-overtime win against the Jazz.

All of which is mighty impressive for a young man who entered Missouri in 2017 as the No. 2-ranked recruit in the nation, only to suffer a back injury that limited him to three games as a Tiger and eventually required surgery for herniated disks. The surgery cost him what should have been his rookie season with Denver in 2018-19.

He also was slowed earlier this season by an ankle injury that forced him to miss six games, but now appears to be making up for lost time in a big way. He was averaging just 7.5 points per game prior to his explosive week.

Thirty-five the number for Booker

Former Kentucky standout Devin Booker had a huge week of his own for the Suns, with three 35-point games - one of which included a game-winning buzzer-beater against the Clippers.

After hitting 13 of 25 field-goal attempts in the Suns' win over the Clippers, including 6 of 9 on 3-pointers, Booker also dropped 35 points in a Phoenix win over the Heat last week. Then he capped the week by going for another 35 points in a win over the Thunder on Monday, hitting 14 of 14 free throws.

Booker played only one season at Kentucky, but piled up quite a few accomplishments during his brief time as a Wildcat. He earned SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2014-15 and also was named to the All-SEC Freshman team and to the All-SEC Second Team. Booker also made the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll.

AD's big night helps Lakers clinch top seed

Former Kentucky star Anthony Davis had 42 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers as they clinched the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs last Monday. It was Davis' 12th 30-10 game this season, which is the most in a season by a Lakers player since Shaquille O'Neal in 2002-03.

Davis scored early and often, registering 24 points by halftime - marking the 20th time this season he's scored at least 20 points in a half. He scored late, too, with his final basket resulting in a four-point play as he was fouled while sinking a 3-point shot.

A seven-time NBA All-Star who was the No. 1 overall draft pick by New Orleans in 2012, Davis played only one season at Kentucky - but it was a productive and memorable one. The versatile forward was named National Player of the Year and Final Four Most Outstanding player after helping the Wildcats to a 38-2 record and the program's eighth national championship in 2011-12. He not only averaged a team-high 14.2 points and 10.4 rebounds, but also set a UK record for blocks in a season with 186 as the Wildcats went undefeated in the SEC (16-0) and tied a record for most wins in NCAA Division I men's basketball history.

Carter sets records in WNBA

Former Texas A&M standout Chennedy Carter torched the Seattle Storm for 35 points last Thursday, setting an Atlanta Dream record for most points by a rookie. The previous record had stood for 11 years. Carter, 21, also became the youngest player in WNBA history to score 30 or more points in a game.

Carter suffered an injury that forced her to leave Monday's game against the Connecticut Sun after just three minutes, but she has been having an outstanding first season as a pro. After becoming the highest Aggie WNBA draft pick of all-time (No. 4 overall) this past April, she entered Monday's game averaging 19.4 points, tied for fifth in the league.

To those who saw her on the court at A&M, her WNBA success comes as no surprise. She was the unanimous National Freshman of the Year in 2017-18, making her Texas A&M's first winner of a national postseason award -- and the 46 points she poured in against USC on Dec. 15, 2017 remains the A&M single-game scoring record.

Moreland walks it off in MLB

Mississippi State alum Mitch Moreland had a multi-HR game, including a walk-off for the Red Sox against the Blue Jays on Sunday.

It was the fourth walk-off home run of Moreland's career and first since Aug. 4, 2017. It was his second home run of the night, giving Moreland six home runs in only 31 at-bats this season for the Red Sox. The first baseman has now slugged 172 homers in his 11-year MLB career. Moreland was a member of the Red Sox team that won the World Series in 2018, the same season he was named for the first time to the American League All-Star team.

Moreland both hit and pitched well while at Mississippi State from 2005-2007. He hit .343 with 10 home runs his junior season and went 5-0 on the mound with a 3.31 ERA over his three seasons in Starkville. The Texas Rangers selected him in the 17th round of the 2007 MLB Draft.