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Is Washington’s “Mike Hopkins Era” Starting On The Wrong Foot?

The hiring of a new head coach is supposed to be a time of hope for a program. Washington is more than happy to have taken Mike Hopkins away from Syracuse basketball, but his first head coaching job might be starting on the wrong note. Unless he can flex his recruiting muscle early, the first move of the Mike Hopkins era at Washington could be losing the No. 1 recruit in the country.

We usually try to stay geared toward Syracuse recruiting at Orange Fizz, but Mike Hopkins’ situation in Seattle calls for an exception. Michael Porter Jr. originally committed to Washington in July of 2016. He signed his letter of intent to join the Huskies in November. He couldn’t have known when he committed that the man who had persuaded him was going to be out of the program by the time he got there. Lorenzo Romar was fired last Wednesday, prompting this tweet from Porter:

Porter quickly removed “Washington Commit” from his Twitter bio, and has said he’ll be asking for a release from Washington. Romar was more than the coach for Washington, he’s also Porter’s godfather. The Huskies hired Michael Porter Sr. a year ago. Losing that coaching staff means more to Porter than it would a normal recruit. There wasn’t much Hopkins could do about it, but the fight isn’t over yet.

Porter will reopen his recruitment, but Washington isn’t out of contention. While he hasn’t said much about the Hopkins hire, Porter said “I hear Mike Hopkins is that dude so I’m gonna talk to him and see what he’s saying.” Whether Hopkins is “that dude” has yet to be seen, but at least he’s going to get a fair shot out of a tough situation.

Oklahoma, Missouri and Virginia are the early favorites to land Porter after his breakup with Washington. Missouri is the favorite; the Tigers have already offered a coaching position to his father, who had already served as an assistant to the Mizzou women’s team before. Virginia and Oklahoma both have friends of Porter on the roster (Kyle Guy and Trae Young, respectively).

Mike Hopkins didn’t lose Michael Porter Jr. If the Gatorade National Player of the Year does decide to go elsewhere, the separation will have been decided before he got there. But if Hop is somehow able to get Porter to stay at the school which had just fired his father and godfather, he’ll be on the good side of Huskies fans before he coaches a game.

Posted: Nathan Dickinson

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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