Projecting Draft Potential of Bobby Portis – the UA’s 6th All-SEC Freshman

Is Portis underrated by NBA draftniks?

Is Portis underrated by NBA draftniks? Courtesy: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Arkansas freshman big man Bobby Portis earned a pair of SEC postseason honors on Tuesday, as the Little Rock native was named to the All-SEC second team and the SEC All-Freshman team..

According to the UA sports information department, the Hogs have landed 15 players on the SEC All-Freshman team while Portis is just the sixth freshman in program history to earn All-SEC honors. During his standout rookie campaign, Portis also collected three SEC Player of the Week accolades, which equaled the record previously set by current Houston Rocket Patrick Beverley in 2007.

One of Portis’ weekly honors came on the heels of breaking the Arkansas freshman scoring record with 35 points against Alabama on Feb. 5 at Bud Walton Arena, dethroning current Director of Student-Athlete Development Scotty Thurman. The 35-point night was the most by a Razorback since 2002, and the third-most points scored by an SEC player this season. Portis accounted for 29 of the team’s first 35 points, while also adding nine rebounds and a season-best six blocks.

Portis enters the SEC Tournament averaging 12.4 points and 6.6 rebounds, ranking second and first on the team, respectively. The 6-foot-10 forward has reached double figures in 20 games with a team-best three doubles and is the only Razorback to start all 31 games. Portis ranks 10th in the SEC in rebounding and tied for fifth in blocks (1.6), while also showcasing his all-round skill with 46 assists and 35 steals.

The first Arkansas signee since 2004, and the 13th overall, to play in the McDonald’s All-American game, Portis has lived up to the hype and has a chance to become the first freshman in program history to lead the team in scoring and rebounding in the same season. Portis also needs just 12 rebounds to break the freshman record of 211 set by Marshawn Powell in 2010.

Fifth-seeded Arkansas (21-10) will begin play at the SEC Tournament on Thursday, taking on the winner of Auburn/South Carolina in a 2:30 p.m. CT game on SEC TV. The Razorbacks earned a first round bye and head to Atlanta with wins in eight of their last 10 games.

So when and where will Portis end up going in the NBA Draft?

NBA Draft Express has him at #19 in the 2015 Draft, one behind Kentucky’s Dakari Johnson. Curiously, NBA Draftnet doesn’t have him listed at all. But at least one member of the drafterati – Dean Demakis – in February made a strong case for Portis one day being worth high first round consideration. Especially when compared to SEC Freshman of the Year Julius Randle, an apparently surefire Top 10 pick this year.

They are both skilled 5 star freshman PF’s who play in the SEC.  Their tools are not far apart, as Portis has more length (7’1.5″ vs 6’11″ wingspan), Randle has more strength, and their athleticism and mobility appear to be similar (although perhaps Randle’s spryness would stand out if he trimmed down).  Their offensive ratings adjusted for SOS and usage is close with Randle having a slim 1.8 point advantage.   In a world that interprets draft related information with reasonable efficiency, a Portis vs. Randle debate would be raging right now….

Portis has superior defensive awareness and his length enables him to make more plays.  I believe he clearly projects to be better on this end in spite of inferior rebounding.  Offensively, Randle is a superior offensive rebounder and gets to the line far more, but Portis has a considerably lower turnover rate.  

About these ads

The Arkansas Activities Association Should Integrate Its Record Book

5a boys

Hall’s Evan James, center, is surrounded by teammates after making a last second basket to beat Jonesboro 32-31 in the 6A boys high school championship. It was the fourth straight title for LR Hall, a feat only accomplished by two other programs – Scipio Jones and LR Central. Courtesy: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

In the scope of world history, high school sports isn’t all that significant.

You could study a 1,001 more subjects which have more of an effect on our everyday lives. My wife, who works as a pediatrician, deals with more life and death matters in the course of half of a minute than I will in a lifetime of work.

So there may only be a handful of people who care that a large part of Arkansas’ high school history is kept in the dark almost every time a major record is set.

Last year, I discussed this issue in the context of career scoring records set in basketball. The essential issue was that the Arkansas Activities Association only recognizes records that were set by the white student-athletes – but not black student-athletes – who played before integration.

Before the school integration that swept through the state in the late 1960s, there were two state athletic associations – one for whites, the other for blacks. Black students ultimately joined the white students in what had been the white students’ schools, leaving the black schools – typically in worse shape – behind. The same happened with the athletic associations. If the black athletic association kept its own records (it is unclear that such records were ever kept and if they still exist), then they have long been lost.

All that remain, officially, are the records that were kept in by what had been the all-white Arkansas Athletics Association.

This became most evident on Saturday, when Little Rock Hall High won its fourth consecutive state basketball title. This is a very rare Read the rest of this entry »


Exclusive Q&A w/ Bobby Portis, Arkansas’ Best Big Man Since Corliss

Bobby Portis learned the art of rebounding from Corliss Williamson. Courtesy: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Bobby Portis learned the art of rebounding from Corliss Williamson. Courtesy: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


Big man Bobby Portis is new school. He shoots threes, leads fast breaks and has a shoe collection as diverse as his game. Off the court, he rocks the same nerd-chic glasses and bow tie swag Kevin Durant has helped popularize in the NBA.

But when Portis takes his game to Fayetteville next season, it’s the promise of returning Arkansas to old school glory that most excites Hogs fans. Portis, after all, is the state’s best big man since his former coach Corliss Williamson. He’s already followed Williamson’s lead by leading the Arkansas Wings to an AAU national championship. The 6-10 senior center may also be the most dominant player from Little Rock Hall High since Sidney Moncrief, another Razorback All-American.

Portis, we find out, fully embraces the legacy of all his schools – past, present and future:

Q: Let’s get this out of the way first. You’ve been known to wear some crazy, neon-colored shoes on the court. How many do you have and why do you wear them?

A: I have Nike shoes in the neon pink, orange, blue, red and green.
It’s just a different style. I like to wear different types of colored shoes, you know. It’s nothing serious. My mom sees the shoes, so she buys them.

Q: Who is most responsible for helping you develop as a post player?

A: When I was little, it was Corliss Williamson. He taught me a lot. But then he moved on to coach UCA and couldn’t coach us [in AAU] anymore. Then I started working out with Marcus McCarroll. He’s in athletic trainer here in Little Rock, and he’s also a part of the Wings.  He really helped improve my post game.

Read the rest of this entry »


Bobby Portis Discusses How He Could Have Helped Arkansas Against Syracuse

bobby portisCourtesy Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Last night I had a good interview with Razorback signee Bobby Portis, whom ESPN has ranked the nation’s 12th best senior. The 6-10 Portis plays for Little Rock Hall High, and a glance down his Twitter feed shows there are plenty Razorback fans who likely wish he’d skip his senior season altogether and join Arkansas for SEC play (a la Jarnell Stokes at Tennesse last season).

This won’t happen, but it’s fun to imagine.

Portis himself can’t help imagining how he could help this year’s batch of Hogs as he cheers them on. Last Friday night, he watched the Hogs fall 91-82 to No. 6 – ranked Syracuse and said he thought he could have used his size and quickness to neutralize the rangy, long athletes who comprise Syracuse’s famed zone defense:

Syracuse’s zone was just killing us. I think I could have flashed to the high post and knocked a couple jumpers down to make [the defenders] come up and then that would have opened up driving lanes for B.J. [Young] and Ky [Madden]  to drive to the hole and stuff like that.”

It’s hard to argue Portis could contribute right away. Last summer, he took an unofficial visit to the Fayetteville campus and scrimmaged on a team including Kikko Haydar, Rickey Scott, Michael Qualls and Anthlon Bell. That team played against teams composed of other Hogs excluding Marshawn Powell,  who was recovering from injury. Portis recalls his team going 5-0.

A more detailed Q&A with Portis will publish in the Dec. 19th issue of Sync magazine


Clash of the Titans: A Jacksonville and Hall video grab bag

UPDATE:

Hall won 47-43, after not leading until 1:15 into the third quarter. Aaron Walton, little brother to Baylor point guard A.J. Walton, scored 11 of 13 points in the second half. If the score wasn’t enough of an indication, the stats back it up: defenses dominated this game. Neither shot more than 40% FG, and they combined for 3-of-16 on 3-pointers.

Read more at ARPreps.com.

Every week, it seems Little Rock Hall High is one half of the equation in the latest game of the week.

That’s what happens when the last time you lost was December 6th. Since that loss against North Little Rock, though, Hall has not played a hotter team in a more hostile environment than Jacksonville. True, the Warriors already beat the Red Devils by 13 points, but don’t let silly Maxpreps fool ya’ – that Jan. 5 game was very much in Little Rock. Since that loss, Jacksonville has been on a tear all its own – walloping the likes of Parkview, Jonesboro and West Memphis. Get a preview of this game and others at the latest ARPreps.com prepscast.

In the last few weeks, Hall has become the favorite in these CenArk Top-5 clashes as it surges to the top of the 7A/6A East. But tonight in Lonoke County, Jacksonville has its best shot at stealing momentum from the defending champs.

Here are some clips to get you ready:

Physically, nobody in state can deal with Bobby Portis. But can the Red Devils’ home court crazies unnerve Hall’s star center?

It should be fun watching Jacksonville’s Justin McCleary match up with Hall perimeter players such as Dauda Berete:

Let’s not forget about the girls game, which also promises to be an intense match up with plenty of talent on the floor:


Hurricane A-comin’: Parkview clashes with Jonesboro in Game of the Week

Powerhouse Parkview suffered a two-game hiccup, but seems to be back on track after barbecuing Searcy. Can Rod Pugh (#12) and the Hurricane derail the defending champs, handing coach Al Flanigan (right) an unheard-of three losses in four games?

It’s the end of week 2 of conference season, and time again to serve up some Friday previews for big 6A and 7A games featuring central Arkansas teams.

Parkview (14-2, 2-2) @ Jonesboro (15-2, 3-1)

On Tuesday, Parkview beat Searcy 73-24 while  Jonesboro lost to Jacksonville 68-41. Check out video highlights from that Parkview win here. Go to the video section on the page’s right side, scroll to the bottom and click “View Next 4 Clips”

Both teams are strongest at the guard positions – for Parkview, Anton Beard and I.J. Ready. For Jonesboro, watch out for sophomore dynamo Kahron Ross and Randle Tolliver. Throw some sweet-shooting Jacob Gibson in there, too. (n.b. Ready and Ross were Arkansas Hawks teammates last summer)

Listen to the game here, ye central Arkansas folk who’d rather not make the drive.

And although you’re listening, you can kind of  imagine you’re watching TV if you slowly scroll through the pics on this Facebook page.

Want more on this matchup and others from Friday? ARPreps.com’s David Harten, Tim Cooper ( the Democrat-Gazette’s bball guru) and I talk our noggins off in our latest weekly prepscast.

Catholic (1-3, 2-7) @ Russellville (13-4, 4-0) 

Russellville beat Van Buren 58-31. Cyclone Grey Harris, who would be making a run at early-season state MVP is such existed, scored 18 points. Catholic, meanwhile, lost to North Little Rock 67-51.

Catch the game at KCJC 102.3 FM or online at http://www.kcjclive.com.

If you think the above game was low-scoring, then you need to see my new …

!!?!!?? of the Week

28-24.

I repeat: 28-24. That’s the score I saw in the Dem-Gaz for the Rogers’ boys Tuesday night victory over Fort Smith Northside.

Granted, upon check-up, the  actual score  might have been slightly higher.

Either way, I’m voting this half-court sludgefest of a game reason #73 I will always prefer central Arkansas ball to what’s going down in the NWA:

Searcy (6-11, 1-3) @ Hall (13-3, 4-0)

Hall beat West Memphis 52-47 on the road, while Searcy lost by 49 points to Parkview.

“We came out very flat,” its coach  told The Daily Citizen. “Also, Parkview came out to prove a point because they had lost two in a row, and they shot well. That’s a bad combination.

“It was already a 16-point game at the half. They kept pressing. The coach could have pulled off  the press, but he didn’t. It was a statement game for them. They’re the best in the state, and they wanted to prove it.”

Cam Woodruff, a junior on the team, said the Lions were not prepared for the Parkview game. “They came out and put it on us,” he said. “We weren’t prepared mentally.”

Hall’s Hog commit Bobby Portis was featured in this KATV video this week. In his past two games, the junior center has shot 9 of 20 on FGs, 1 of 4 on 3s  and 10 of 13 on FTs for 29 points. He’s also totaled 28 rebounds, seven blocks, six turnovers two steals and three assists.

Read the rest of this entry »


Parkview vs. Hall headlines 7A/6A Friday games

The Friday Night Lights will burn bright between these two Top 5 teams and heated rivals. For sure, guards Anton Beard (left) and Jobe Dillard (right) will be ready. Will you? Photos courtesy of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Tom Harden of Little Rock Hall High

There’s a lot of stuff online about central Arkansas high school basketball. I’m one of the few people eager to actually wade through it all. I did so, and give you essential previews  of Friday’s big games in 6A and 7A:

Hall @ Parkview

As good as it gets in Arkansas hoops. Detailed breakdown at  ARPreps.com Prepscast. Also, Buzz 103.7 FM will broadcast the game as its featured matchup of the week.

[UPDATE - Hall won 63-56. For Hall, Bobby Portis had 14 points, five rebounds and five blocks. Javan Perry (13 pts), Jobe Dillard (11 pts) and Aaron Walton (10 points) make up the other high scorers. Anton Beard led Parkview with 20 points. I.J. Ready started slowly (was defended by Quan Jones) but heated up toward the end, finishing with 17 points. Emanuel Adoyi scored seven points before fouling out]

On Tuesday, Hall (11-3, 2-0) beat Marion 60-49. Arkansas commit Bobby Portis scored 17 points, and Jobe Dillard added 12 points.

Parkview (13-1, 1-1)  lost at home 74-63 to Jacksonville.

 The 74 points are the most the Patriots have allowed this season. No other Arkansas team has scored more than 60 on Parkview (13-1, 1-1) this season.
Jacksonville (11-3, 1-1) led 18-9 after one quarter and 40-23 at halftime.
“I can’t remember when someone jumped on us like that, especially at home,” Parkview Coach Al Flanigan said. “We didn’t play any defense, but I give Coach Joyner’s crew a lot of credit. They played well…  Parkview sophomore Anton Beard led all scorers with 27 points and he also made six steals. Junior guard I.J. Ready was held to 14 points and Emmanuel Adoyi added 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. ” – Tim Cooper, via ARPreps.com

Here’s KATV video of Parkview’s I.J. Ready against Jacksonville.

Cabot @ North Little Rock 

Cabot boys (9-2, 0-2) lost 55-52 to Catholic. Fox 16 video highlights from that game here (look at upper right corner)

North Little Rock boys (10-4, 1-1) beat Conway 72-53

Tyree Hollister, who had five 3-pointers, led a balanced North Little Rock attack with 21 points. Thomas Alexander added 12, Cody Ware 11 and Gary Vines 10 … via Conway’s Log Cabin Democrat

Cabot girls (13-4, 2-0) -

[Arkansas signee] Melissa Wolff and the Cabot Lady Panthers warmed up for Friday’s showdown with North Little Rock by winning at Mount St. Mary 66-38 on Tuesday in Little Rock.  Wolff scored a game-high 17 points and came up with five steals and four assists for the No. 5 Lady Panthers – Tim Cooper, ArPreps.com basketball

North Little Rock girls (14-2, 2-0) beat Conway 60-40:

A key for NLR was the defensive play of LaShaun Brooks, who shut down Chambers the second half.

“That was big for us,” said NLR coach Daryl Fimple. “She’s capable of playing that kind of defense.”

Chambers led Conway with 13 points and Foster added 11. Xena King led NLR with 13 points. Lexus Williams had 10 and Kaprecia Slocum nine.” via Conway’s Log Cabin Democrat.

And here’s a KATV video feature on Lexus Williams, the Lady Charging Wildcats’ 6-1 senior who’s committed to Southern Methodist University.

Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers