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Homegrown five-star Josh Portnoy is fulfilling his dream playing tennis at Michigan State

March 24, 2022
MSU's Josh Portnoy poses for a photo.
MSU's Josh Portnoy poses for a photo. —
Photo by Courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications | The State News

Freshman Josh Portnoy grew up in Okemos, a city not even ten minutes away from East Lansing, and that served as a major influence in his decision to choose to play for the green and white.

“I would come watch their matches when I was little. I have always wanted to play here,” Portnoy said.

Michigan State Head coach Gene Orlando had Portnoy on his radar for a very long time, but was not sure if he could secure his commitment. He was very happy his doubts were wrong.

“I would go to Court One when he was a small little guy and I got to see him grow up,” Orlando said. “You’re always looking for hometown players to stay home and obviously he was a talented player from the very beginning. There was no guarantee that we were going to get him, but I think getting our visit with him really helped us keep him home. It was a big win.”

Portnoy has his parents to thank for introducing him to the sport that has given him the opportunity to play at the college level.

“My mom and dad both played in high school and they introduced tennis to me at a young age and then I just kept on playing,” Portnoy said.

As he kept playing, he kept getting better. Portnoy eventually became a five-star and one of the top 100 players in the class of 2021. 

His high ranking didn’t come out of the blue though as he won two state titles at Okemos High School. His favorite memory from his high school tennis career was winning the latter of those championships. 

“Winning states in my final year of high school was probably one of my favorite memories,” Portnoy said. 

Portnoy was a very highly regarded player coming into the program, and Orlando has already seen a lot of growth since he stepped foot on campus and he is looking forward to seeing how much better he can get. 

“He has got the ability to play some big time tennis,” Orlando said. “It has been great to see the growth from when he first arrived on campus in July to where he is now and we are excited to see what he can do in the next three and a half years.”

Portnoy has gotten off to a very good start as he has recorded three wins and a loss in doubles matches and four wins with just one loss in singles. Even with his early success, he is staying humble through it all.

“I am just grateful to get to come out and play,” Portnoy said. 

There is always room for improvement though, and Portnoy has a solid feeling of what he needs to get better at.

“Building on my confidence on the court. My ability to be more aggressive and have a stronger mental game,” Portnoy said. 

There is a lot of tennis left to play in Portnoy’s career and these upcoming years have the chance to be very special for him and the program as the rack up wins and top recruits.

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