Pittsburgh Post-Gazette High School Athletes of the Week

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D.J. Porter

Obama Academy

Last week: Porter scored 26 points as Obama, a City League school, defeated Central Valley, 77-58, Saturday. Central Valley was the Post-Gazette's No. 1-ranked WPIAL Class AAA team.

Check this out: Porter, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound senior guard/forward, is averaging 26.8 points and 8 rebounds a game for Obama, which has a 4-0 record. All Obama's wins have come against WPIAL teams -- Upper St. Clair, Franklin Regional and Imani Christian in addition to Central Valley. Porter, who scored 37 against Franklin Regional, is the son of former Pitt player and Duquesne University coach Darelle Porter. D.J. has a younger sister, Michaela, who is a freshman and starts on Obama's girls team.

College talk: Porter has not decided on a college yet. He had a few scholarship offers from Division I colleges, including St. Bonaventure and Ohio, but elected not to sign during the NCAA's weeklong early signing period in November.

 If you guys played in WPIAL Class AAAA, how do you think you would do? I think we would be one of the top teams. We just beat one of the top [AAA] teams by almost 20.

 Is this team better than last year? Yeah, we're better. We're taller this year and way more athletic. We've just got a bunch of dudes who can put the ball in the basket.

 Are you better than your dad was? Yes, in my opinion.

 But did you ever see him play? No.

 Then how do you know? I've beat him one-on-one. I just know I'm better [laugh].

 Best Christmas present you have had? My first indoor basketball hoop. I think it was Fisher-Price and I was 2 or 3. I'll never forget that and I got a jeep that I could ride that year, too.

 People might be surprised to know that ... My favorite sport is football. I just never played it in high school.

-- By Mike White

Conor Richardson


Last week: Richardson scored 19 points to lead the Carlynton girls basketball team to a 51-36 win Monday against Avonworth, and then led a stellar defensive effort as the Cougars won Thursday at previously unbeaten Beaver, 37-29.

Check this out: Richardson, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward, is averaging a team-high 18 points per game for Carlynton, ranked No. 4 in Class AA. The Cougars are 6-1 overall and 3-0 in Section 6. Richardson has bounced back from a torn ACL in her right knee that caused her to miss her sophomore season. A Crafton resident, she is also a standout volleyball player and sprinter. She was named all-section this fall in volleyball and finished in the top eight in the 100- and 400-meter runs at the WPIAL Class AA track championships last season.

 What was the first game of this season like for you? It was a little emotional. It was my first high school game [since the injury]. It felt like it was what I worked for. All the rehab, the doctor appointments, all the family support. You can ask my teammates, I'm the happiest girl out there.

 How far can this team go? I feel like we can go far. Our chemistry is great. We all mesh together so well. We're going to take one step at a time. We want to win those section games, go down to the Palumbo Center to play in front of all those fans and go from there.

 Best Christmas gift you've ever gotten? Honestly, when I was in third grade, I got this easy-bake oven. I was cooking up all kind of stuff. And the big speakers in my room. They pump me up for games and get me up in the morning.

 Will you have a New Year's resolution? Last year, it was not drinking any pop. I went a strong eight months without [doing] it. For next year, probably just to keep going strong and doing better. And probably to make time to get more shots in.

-- By Brad Everett

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