Porter, Muhammad battle once again

Porter, Muhammad battle once again
July 13, 2014, 1:15 pm
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LAS VEGAS -- Otto Porter and Shabazz Muhammad faced off back on November 19, 2012 when the Georgetown forward began his star turn and the UCLA freshman made his NCAA debut. Markel Starks also shined in the unranked Hoyas victory over the No. 11 Bruins.

Porter and Muhammad, both 2013 first round picks with something to prove after trying rookie seasons, meet again as the Wizards and Timberwolves tangle on Sunday in the Las Vegas summer league. This time, Starks' allegiances are different seeing as the point guard and undrafted rookie is a member of Minnesota's squad. Tipoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET.

"He had a really good game (Saturday)" Starks said of Porter, who scored 25 points in Washington rout over Atlanta on Saturday. "Obviously, he's still my teammate, my friend. Now, he's wearing an opposing jersey. But, still, Hoya Saxa."

Porter also had a really game in 2012 against Muhammad despite missing the previous contest with a concussion. Georgetown's third game of the season was the UCLA freshman's first in college, his entrance delayed by an NCAA suspension. All the pre-game hype went Muhammad's way, starry newcomer and all.

The understated and stat-stuffing Porter stole the show with 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and three steals as the Hoyas prevailed 78-70.

"Otto's first full game and look at the stat sheet. That was a full game," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said that night according to the Associated Press. "Then there was a lot of other stuff he did that doesn't show up on this piece of paper. It was good to have him back out there."

The not showing stuff angle essentially describes Porter's trying rookie season in which he barely played. Even with the brand new change at small forward from Trevor Ariza to Paul Pierce, Porter will have opportunity for more minutes this coming season, especially if his summer league debut works as an indicator of what's to come.

Muhammad also arrived in Las Vegas with something to prove. Like Porter, he played in only 37 games as a rookie, averaging less than four points per outing. Like his fellow small forward, Muhammad shined on Saturday, scoring 27 points in Minnesota's loss to Dallas. The matchup between the 2013 lottery picks makes for a strong test indeed.

Starks, who scored 22 points in that Georgetown win had four points and two assists in 13 minutes for Minnesota on Saturday. Undrafted in June, the 6-foot-2 guard is the rare player to participate in both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues. Staying busy is nothing new for Starks, who went from finishing his senior season with the Hoyas to shining at the Portsmouth Invitational to umpteen pre-draft workouts to Orlando and now Las Vegas.

No doubt the tireless guard will have energy when the Timberwolves and Wizards meet late Sunday night. Facing his pal Porter will provide extra pep. Porter facing Muhammad provides and intriguing summer league showcase.

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