FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The preseason accolade list for sophomore Bobby Portis got longer on Monday, and in a big way, as the Arkansas forward was one of 50 student-athletes on the John Wooden Award watch list released on ESPN’s SportsCenter and ESPN.com.
Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the 50 student-athletes are the early front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor.
The Wooden Award watch list tops a long stack of preseason awards for the Little Rock native who was all named to the preseason All-SEC first team by both the league head coaches and media. In 2013-14, Portis became just the sixth freshman in Arkansas history to earn All-SEC honors in his rookie campaign. He nearly became the first freshman in program history to lead the Razorbacks in scoring (12.3) and rebounding (6.8).
Portis opened the season with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-11 from the field Sunday afternoon against Alabama State, good for the most points by a Razorback in a season opener since 2009. The 24 points also equaled the most points by an SEC player over the opening weekend.
A total of seven SEC players from four different programs made the list. The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2015 John R. Wooden Award Presented by Wendy’s. The Wooden Award National Advisory Board will select 25 players for the midseason list in early January. The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 in early February. Fifteen top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be placed on the ballot and submitted to voters prior to the NCAA Tournament and voting will take into account play during the opening rounds of the tournament. The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.
Arkansas will finish its three-game homestand to start the year this week, beginning with ACC member Wake Forest on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.