Porter puts himself in elite company

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- He's impossible to hate. That's the thing about Otto Porter. The latest, and perhaps last, would-be villain in the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry is unfailingly polite and, from an Orange fan perspective, frustratingly likeable.

He is not of the Hoya Paranoia generation, all sneer and anger. His big reaction after dropping 33 points to lead Georgetown to a 57-46 win in what might be the final Carrier Dome installment of this decades long war? A fist pump to the small pocket of Georgetown fans and a smile.

He's not a prima donna or diva who celebrates a free throw as if he's sunk a halfcourt buzzer-beater in the national title game. Asked if he should be considered in the national player of the year conversation, Porter hemmed and hawed forever, clearly wishing he'd been asked his stance on something far less controversial like, say, gun control.

He finally stumbled out an, "I don't know," as Georgetown sports information director Mex Carey rushed to his rescue, with a "We'll let you guys decide that."

OK, we will.

Otto Porter should be in the national player of the year conversation. Right now.

Because even on the laundry list of impressive things Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Doug McDermott and Cody Zeller have accomplished this season, none have done what Porter did on Saturday.

Namely, he convinced 35,012 people who desperately wanted to despise him to instead shuffle quietly out the doors with a deferential tip of the cap.

For Dana O'Neil's full column, click here.