The first step in the offseason process for Weber State men’s basketball came into place with the first commitment of the 2020 recruiting class.
Zahir Porter, a 6-foot-6 guard from Independence Community College in Kansas, tweeted his commitment to Weber State on Friday afternoon.
Porter chose Weber State over Portland State, WAC power New Mexico State, Texas State and Florida International.
The junior-to-be averaged 10.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game as a sophomore for the Pirates.
Porter said WSU assistant coach Eric Daniels visited him in November 2019 to see a game and a practice, and offered him a scholarship.
“Ever since then, they’ve been nothing but supportive, showing me the most love and ... making me feel like they really want me to succeed at Weber State,” Porter told the Standard-Examiner.
Porter is a native of New Rochelle, New York, an area just north of the Bronx. As a freshman, he played at the New York Institute of Technology where he averaged 12.2 points per game. He shot 33.5% from the 3-point line across two seasons.
Porter shot 41% from the 3-point line as a high school senior at Our Savior Lutheran School in the Bronx. Upon signing him out of high school, NYIT coach Kevin Hamilton called Porter “a very solid 3-point shooter and extremely athletic” and that he “plays over the rim.”
A highlight video from his freshman season shows Porter as a long, athletic guard with an ability to challenge for rebounds and enough ball-handling skills to get to the rim.
He said Weber State coaches see him as a scorer, someone who can get a bucket when needed, and that he helps them fill a need for bigger guards.
Porter spoke with the Standard-Examiner as he traveled to the airport to fly from Kansas to New York — though he said he’s unlikely to go home, per se, as New Rochelle is currently a flashpoint for the outbreak of COVID-19, somewhat the epicenter of New York’s infection rate as it became the state with the most coronavirus cases Friday. He said he would instead stay somewhere in the Bronx area — then his flight was delayed and he said he’d remain in Kansas another day.
New Rochelle has banned large gatherings due to the quantity of cases and the National Guard arrived Thursday to help hand out meals to families affected by things like school closures, and to help with sanitization efforts.
Porter’s commitment comes on the same day the NCAA put a halt to all in-person recruiting until at least April 15 over concerns with the spread of COVID-19 and the nearly worldwide stoppage of sports across the globe. He said he has not yet visited Weber State but plans to do so once the recruiting travel hiatus ends.
Weber State entered the offseason with three known open scholarships after seniors Jerrick Harding and Cody John will graduate, and with the transfer of Caleb Nero — while other change remains possible.
WSU currently has other offers out to guard Tahlik Chavez, a Garden City Community College (Kansas) guard who scored 20 points per game as a freshman, as well as Polk State (Florida) wing player Clarence Jackson, who averaged 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds as a freshman. Each holds scores of mid-major offers.
WSU also had its hat in the ring for local prep star Dallin Hall, the prodigious guard who led Fremont High to this year’s Utah 6A state championship, but Hall tweeted later Friday afternoon of his commitment to BYU.