Porrini’s path comes full circle as Flashes aim for MAC Title

Michael Porrini. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Michael Porrini. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Nick Shook

Michael Porrini’s journey has never been simple.

After multiple stops at various colleges, Porrini has returned home to Kent State. The path to becoming a Flash wasn’t easy though. Prior to enrolling and joining the basketball team at Kent State, Porrini attended and played at two other colleges.

Born in Massillon, Ohio, Porrini was raised by his mother and grandparents. His family often moved between Massillon and Canton during Porrini’s childhood.

“Wherever she could keep a good, stable job and try to keep us out of trouble and keep our heads on straight, that’s where it was best for us,” Porrini said.

The family finally made a move to Columbus, and that is where his athletic life would change forever.

Once his family settled in Columbus, Porrini’s involvement with basketball increased due to the prevalence of the sport in central Ohio. Porrini began to play for Amateur Athletic Union basketball teams in the sixth grade and gained valuable experience that he used to his advantage when his family returned to Massillon.

“I came on the team late,” Porrini said. “To get on the team, I had to beat the best player on their team in one-on-one. I killed it … I got on the team, and after that, I fell in love with it.”

Porrini continued to play basketball and attend school in Massillon. When he reached Massillon-Washington High School, he made the varsity team as a freshman. Porrini found success early in his high school career and made his first game-winning shot against Hudson.

“After that, that’s when basketball elevated,” Porrini said. “I ended up getting more serious about it, I knew that I could play and from there, I always progressed. I always got better and I just fell in love with the game.”

Porrini was rated as the fourth-best point guard in the state coming out of high school and attended Western Carolina on a full-ride scholarship, but he wasn’t happy with the team’s poor performance on the court.

“It was nothing against them, but I can’t take losing,” Porrini said. “I’d rather win than average 16 points as a freshman … I was leading the team in almost every category as a freshman, and the role I was playing was more than what a freshman was supposed to. I had no problem with it, but we weren’t winning.”

Porrini left Western Carolina midway through his freshman season and returned home to Massillon, where he faced more adversity.

Michael Porrini

  • Named ‘Best Under Pressure’ for the Mid-American Conference in The Sporting News College Basketball Preview prior to the 2011-12 season.
  • Mid-Major Defensive All-American (CollegeInsider.com) following the 2010-11 season.
  • Kent State’s primary point guard last season.
  • Over the final six games of the season during Kent State’s run to the MAC Tournament Championship game and the NIT quarterfinals he averaged 13.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 48 percent from the field and 47 percent (8-17) from three.

Porrini had an opportunity to attend junior college in Kansas but tore his ACL during the junior college top-100 camp. His scholarship was pulled, and he decided to get his education at Columbus State Community College, where he paid his way through school for two quarters. Following the completion of knee rehabilitation, Porrini attended Gulf Coast College (Fla.), where he resumed his playing career. However, Porrini still had the desire to play basketball closer to home. His opportunity came during a holiday tournament in Ocala, Fla., when Kent State coach Rob Senderoff got his first look at Porrini on the court.

“When I saw him walk in, I knew what I had to do to get home. I took care of business there, got my degree, and now I’m at Kent State,” Porrini said.

Although Porrini was forbidden to communicate with Senderoff while at the tournament due to NCAA recruitment rules, Senderoff later contacted with Porrini’s coaches at Gulf Coast.

“I told them before they offered me that I wanted to be here, so when he offered me the scholarship, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go to any other place, I wanted to come home,” Porrini said.

The reigning Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year has led the Flashes to a 5-1 start this season. Toughness and perseverance are qualities that Porrini developed both on and off the court, especially when he became a father at a young age. Porrini has two children, a six-year-old daughter and a two-month-old son, which has helped him mature at an early age.

“I had to mature a lot earlier than a lot of people in my life that I’ve been through, so having all of that maturity on the court, that’s just how I am, I don’t even think about it,” Porrini said.

His maturity is evident on the court, as he attempts to lead his team to a MAC championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected] and @Shookie_Cookie.