CANTON — The next stop for former Canton boys basketball standout Declan Porter will be Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
Porter, who left Canton a year ago as Section 10’s all-time leading scorer, with 1,908 career points, committed to join the Ephs this week and may wind up being a punter on the football team, which is coached by former St. Lawrence University coach Mark Raymond.
A 6-foot-6, 225-pound small forward, Porter spent a graduate season at the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where he made a comeback from a navicular fracture in his foot, which ended his senior year at Canton prematurely.
“I liked the good balance between academics and basketball,” Porter said of his choice. “(Williams) is ranked No. 1 for liberal arts in the country. That was a big seller for me. I talked to the coach (Kevin App) and he said it’s a great place to grow on and off the court.”
Porter averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds in his final season at Canton and saw his Section 10 scoring record broken this season by Chateaugay’s Jonah McDonald, who is heading to Clarkson in the fall.
“I knew he was a great player,” Porter said of McDonald. “I had a feeling it was going to happen. I’m sure he’ll have a great career at Clarkson.”
Williams competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which is one of the top NCAA Division III conferences in almost every sport.
“Every night it’s going to be a tough battle,” Porter said. “That will be good for us to grow as a team and mesh throughout playoff time.”
In addition to being a basketball standout at Canton, Porter was also an all-star quarterback and excelled as a punter for the Golden Bears, averaging more than 40 yards a punt with solid hang times.
The days of quarterbacking are behind him, but Raymond, a Saranac Lake native, has already expressed interest in Porter becoming a kicker for the Ephs.
“That is in the works, the potential of doing that,” Porter said. “(Raymond) sent me an email mentioning that. One year out of football I noticed how much I miss it. Come fall I’m itching to get back on the football field.” The possibility of playing two sports was one reason Porter picked Williams, passing up a chance to try to walk on to Division I Syracuse University’s basketball team. SLU and Hamilton College also expressed interest in Porter.
Porter estimated he’s about 90 percent back to his pre-injury form and believes by the time school starts he will be at 100 percent.
Spending a year at Phillips Exeter helped him as a student and a player, in addition to giving him the chance to heal before he begins his college career.
“I would definitely compare the size and speed of (prep school) to what my AAU experience was like, but the style of play was more structured,” Porter said. “It was a step up, of course. It took me a bit to get accustomed to it. I started for probably 10 or 12 games in the middle of the season. We had a big guy get injured, so I moved up a step. It was a great experience. The biggest thing was getting used to the offense. We ran a very sophisticated style of offense and I was coming in not knowing any of it, surrounded by guys who had been doing it for years. It was a different transition.”
Porter is back in Canton finishing his school year with online classes and working out with his older brother, Louden, who plays for St. John Fisher.
“In a typical day I have two or three Zoom classes,” Porter said. “I have some more online classes where you are given a reading and you post to a discussion board online. It’s definitely harder to stay on pace with things when you are not there.”
Porter said he is considering majoring in economics and business and concentrating on leadership studies.