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Jeff Borzello, ESPN Staff Writer 32d

Potential No. 1 draft pick Michael Porter Jr. says Mizzou has more talent than past top picks' teams

Men's College Basketball, Missouri Tigers

NASHVILLE -- Michael Porter Jr. thinks his season at Missouri will be different from the ones Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz had at LSU and Washington, respectively.

For one reason: surrounding talent.

"I feel like I have more around me than those guys had," Porter Jr. said at SEC media days on Wednesday. "I have tons of incomers that are crazy talented that are coming in with me, along with a ton of experienced guys that have just gotten better. I feel like I have [a] ton of supporting cast, so I don't feel any pressure on my shoulders. I feel like if we do make a run or surprise a lot of people this season, it won't really be because of me. It'll be because of the whole team. We've got a lot of talent."

Before becoming No. 1 picks, Simmons and Fultz both missed the NCAA tournament. Simmons went 19-14 during his lone season at LSU, while Fultz and Washington went 9-22.

Porter Jr. said he's spoken to Fultz about his college experience.

"He was really frustrated, because that's a dude who loves winning. So he was real upset with how his season went. I mean, when he signed up to go to Washington without really any other big names going with him, he hoped to change the program around. But college basketball is hard, and you need more than one player."

Porter Jr. was the No. 1 prospect in the 2017 ESPN 100 before Marvin Bagley Jr. reclassified in August, and he's one of the top candidates to be the No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft. He originally committed to Washington when former Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar hired Michael Porter Jr. as an assistant coach. Once Romar was fired from Washington, new Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin hired Porter Sr., and Porter Jr. followed his father.

"I want to be the best college player to ever play in college, so I for sure want to be the best Mizzou player to ever play," Porter Jr. said.

Once Porter Jr. committed to Missouri, fellow former Washington commit Blake Harris also joined. One-time Illinois commit Jeremiah Tilmon followed, as did Canisius graduate transfer Kassius Robertson. In August, five-star 2018 prospect Jontay Porter announced he was going to reclassify into 2017 to play with his brother.

With the influx of talent, Missouri was picked fifth in the preseason SEC poll.

If the Tigers don't live up to expectations, though, Porter Jr. said he might return to Columbia for his sophomore season.

"If I do what I think we can do this year, in terms of the team -- not individually but as a team -- then I would consider [being one-and-done]," he said. "But if we don't do as well as I believe we can do as a team, but I still do great individually, projected top-five, top-three, whatever, I don't know if I would go. I might come back just because I want to leave a legacy and help the team get back on course. It's not for sure one way or the other. Everybody thinks I'm not serious when I say that. But I actually might spend more than one year in college.

"At the end of the season, I want to say I helped Mizzou turn it around."

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