Not too many players who have played or currently play in the NBA have come from Division II or III colleges. But this one player came from a Division III school and would go on to play in two NBA all-star games and multiple NBA championships.
Terry Porter played an essential role on the Portland Trail Blazers team as they were one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Porter was a good counterpart to Hall of Fame player Clyde Drexler.
Terry Porter’s career in the NBA
Though he played at a Division III school, Porter still caught the attention of numerous NBA teams. In the 1985 draft, the Trail Blazers would select him with the 24th overall pick in the first round. In his first season in Portland, Porter came off the bench, only starting in three games. He averaged 7.1 points per game.
In his second season in the league, Porter found himself in the starting lineup. He would go on to average 13.1 points and 8.9 assists per game. He recorded his first triple-double of his career in February of 1987. The Trail Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, and Porter finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists. That year he had a good playoff series though Portland lost in the first round he averaged 17 points and 10 assists.
Porter remained in the starting rotation for the Trail Blazers in the next few seasons. During the 1989-90 season, the team made it to the NBA finals and took on the Detroit Pistons. Porter was one of the top players for Portland throughout the playoffs that season. He averaged 20.6 points and 19 points during the finals. The Pistons were too much for the Trail Blazers as they won their second straight NBA championship.
The next season Porter made his first all-star team. That season he averaged 17.6 points and 9.1 assists per game. Porter made one more all-star game during the 1992-93 season. At 29-years-old, he averaged 18.2 points and 5.2 assists.
Terry Porter leaves Portland
After spending 10 seasons in Portland, Porter signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a free agent. He spent three seasons in Minnesota and helped guide the team to their first playoffs appearance during the 1996-97 season. During his time with the Timberwolves, he averaged 8.6 points and 4.1 assists per game.
Porter finished his NBA career playing with the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. He didn’t have the same production toward the end of his career that he did while he was in Portland. Porter played 17 seasons in the league and finished averaging 12.2 points and 5.6 assists per game.
Terry Porter becomes a basketball coach
Not too long after he retired, Porter joined the coaching world. He became an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings for the 2002-03 season. After one season in Sacramento, he was hired as the head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. In his first season with the Bucks as head coach, he led the team to the playoffs with a 41-41 record. They would lose in the first round of the playoffs.
The next year the team struggled and finished with a 30-52 record. That was Porter’s last season in Milwaukee. After a season away from the NBA, Porter would join the Pistons as an assistant coach. He spent two seasons in Detroit and was then named the head coach of the Phoenix Suns for the 2008-09 season. Just 51 games into the season Porter was fired. His last stint in the league was with the Timberwolves as an assistant coach.
Porter decided to turn to college basketball after spending time in the NBA as a coach. In April of 2016, Porter was named the head coach of the University of Portland’s men’s basketball team. In his four seasons at Portland, he has compiled a 37-92 record. Porter stayed involved in the game of basketball even when his playing career was over.