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Eric Porter was a Hoosiers fan well before he was a player for the Deerfield boys basketball team. He’s always liked the color red.
As a kid, his father, Mark, took him to University of Indiana basketball games. Mark is an Indiana grad, and they went to games when the program was down, not like the top-ranked, Sports Illustrated-cover, 2012 version of the Hoosiers.
But he remembers how electric the atmosphere was in Bloomington, Ind.
“Sometimes I couldn’t hear my dad next to me,” Porter said. “The fans were crazy, the whole arena just exploding.”
Watching those games, Porter imagined him being on the basketball court, making plays in front of large crowds, helping his team win.
Now a junior at Deerfield, Porter is the Warriors’ point guard. At 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, he’s not the largest in stature. But he’s still making plays just as he imagined. Known as a shooter, Porter is second on the team in points per game (7.8) and leads Deerfield in 3-point attempts (29).
“Larry Bird said, ‘If you are hot, keep shooting. If you are not, shoot until you are,” ’ Warriors senior Tony Shapiro said. “That’s what he’s been doing, what keeps him on the right track.”
In the team’s opening-season Thanksgiving tournament, Porter did not shoot well in four games. Going into Deerfield’s game against Waukegan on Nov. 27, Porter wanted to come out firing. He knocked down a three-pointer in the first quarter — then a runner for two points. The Warriors were sluggish in the first half, trailing the Bulldogs 28-23 at halftime. In the second half, with Porter leading the way, the Warriors rallied for a 64-56 win.
Porter (3-for-6 from the field) had his best overall game of the season. He pushed the tempo when necessary, driving the ball in the paint and getting to the foul line (8-for-8 in the fourth quarter). He also dumped the ball inside to big man Michael Alfieri, and found Shapiro on the wing.
Porter also had four assists and two steals, illustrating his growth as an all-around player. Yes, shooters shoot. But guards understand they must get everyone involved.
“Everyone knows he can shoot from the outside,” coach Dan McKendrick said. “(This season), he’s working on playing off screens, using it to create space. He’s vocal on offense and on the defensive end.”
Added Porter: “I don’t want to be labeled just a shooter. If I see a teammate open, I’ll give it to him. I can pass, get steals and shoot.”
Porter is an admirer of 6-foot Indiana point guard Jordan Hulls. Holding a 52 percent percentage from 3-point range this season, Hulls is also the engine, averaging four assists per game.
When Porter watches Hull in his red and white uniform, he can’t help but see a little of himself.
“I really like his game. He’s a good shooter,” Porter said. “But he’s a good ball handler. He can do other things.” ~.