Two Flashes continue careers overseas



Right: Kent State guard Michael Porrini jolts past the Akron defense during the March 2 game in the MAC center. The Flashes lost the game against Akron 61-55. Photo by Brian Smith.Left: Senior forward Justin Greene fights for positioning after a free throw during a game against Ball State at the M.A.C. Center on Saturday, Feb. 11. Kent State beat Ball State 76-55. Photo by Anothny Vence

Matt North

Justin Greene and Mike Porrini played together as teammates from 2010 to 2012, winning an array of Mid-American Conference awards and leading the Golden Flashes to two straight 20-win seasons. Now they will continue their basketball legacies separately after signing contracts to play overseas starting in October.

Porrini made the first splash this summer when he signed to play with Gelisim Koleji Spor Kulubu of the Turkish Basketball League (TB2L) Aug. 14.

“It was a good opportunity for me and my family at this point in my career,” Porrini said about the signing. “I had to do what I had to do, and I’m blessed to be able to play basketball again.”

A versatile guard, Porrini was the only player in the MAC last year to average better than nine points, five assists and four rebounds during league play.

Such an all-around game should help Porrini excel in a league with combo guards very similar in size and athleticism to what he has faced in the MAC.

“The MAC was a tough conference with versatile players, and I think the competition has prepared me well,” he said. “The guards I’ve gone up against are very comparable to what I’ll see overseas.”

Ten days after Porrini’s signing, Greene, last year’s conference player of the year, inked a deal with Nova Hut Ostrava of the Czech Republic Basketball League.

After finishing his Kent State career, ranked fourth all-time in points (1,545) and second in rebounds (814) and blocks (120), Greene said he was looking for a place to showcase his talents, and the Czech League should provide him with that opportunity.

Player Statistics:

Justin Greene (four seasons)

  • 1,545 points – all-time KSU rank 4th
  • 814 rebounds – all-time KSU rank 2nd
  • 120 blocks – all-time KSU rank 2nd
  • 402 free throws made all-time KSU rank 2nd
  • Michael Porrini (two seasons)

  • 658 points
  • 313 assists
  • 332 rebounds
  • 118 steals

“This was really a situation of the right place and the right time,” he said. “They want me to go over there and be the man, and I’m ready to make money and put up numbers. I just want to play basketball.”

Like Porrini, Greene’s style of play looks to fit in well in his new league.

During the Flashes trip to Italy in 2009, Greene led the Flashes in rebounding while shooting 62.5 percent from the field against European players.

“The play-style overseas is below the rim, which is more of my game. Blocking shots, rebounding — that’s what I’m best at,” Greene said. “I expect to do well over there.”

Learning to play without each other might be the hardest adjustment for both after Greene said they nearly worked out a deal to bring them both to Gelisim Koleji Spor Kulubu and the TB2L.

“[Porrini] is my point guard. We tried hard to negotiate us both over to Turkey, but it just didn’t work out,” he said. “We’re both in great situations though, and we’re going to rep Kent State hard.”

Porrini said he’d like to see them playing together again at some point in the future.

“This was really the better situation for the both of us. We can go our separate ways, take care of our own business and hopefully meet back up on the court down the road,” he said. “I wish the best for him and all of my senior class at Kent State.”

No matter how their first professional seasons play out, Greene said he is humbled by the opportunity to play professionally and he thanks the program for bringing him to this point.

“Being a Flash was huge in preparing me for this moment. The coaches always stressed working hard because nothing is given easily,” Greene said. “ I came out of high school a star, and when I wasn’t given minutes right away, it was humbling. I can definitely say I attribute all my hard work to that.”

Contact Matt North at [email protected].