FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Following a standout sophomore season in which he became the program’s first SEC Player of the Year in 20 seasons and helped lead the Razorbacks back to the NCAA Tournament, Arkansas forward Bobby Portis announced on Tuesday he will enter his name in the 2015 NBA Draft.
“It has been an unbelievable experience for me at the University of Arkansas the past two years. The love I have for this program is unconditional,” said Portis. “Growing up in the state of Arkansas all I ever wanted to do was be a Razorback and I’m honored that I got a chance to live out that dream for two years.”
“In no way was this an easy decision. The love and passion I have for coach Anderson, the entire coaching staff, my teammates, the athletics department, the faculty and the fans is indescribable. Without all of those people I wouldn’t be here today with an opportunity to take the next step in chasing my dream. The biggest thank you goes to my family and especially my mom. Everything I achieve and continue to work for is for them.”
Following in the footsteps of his youth AAU coach, Portis joined Razorback legend Corliss Williamson (1994, 95) as the only two players in Arkansas history to earn SEC Player of the Year. Portis and Williamson are also two of the 10 underclassmen in SEC history to be named Player of the Year by the conference coaches.
“First I want to thank Bobby’s mother, Miss Tina Edwards, for entrusting me with her son when he became a Razorback,” said head coach Mike Anderson. “Bobby has been a great basketball player, but also a great ambassador for our program and our state. I’ve said this before, but he has embraced and enhanced the culture of our program by leading by example on and off the court. I know he’ll make our state, university and program proud as he continues to chase his dream.”
Portis broke Arkansas’ eight-year run without an All-American in a big way this season, earning AP All-America second team, USBWA All-America second team and Sporting News All-America third team status. He was a finalist for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (5 Players), Oscar Robertson Trophy (14 Players) and the Lute Olson Award (21 Players), while also making the Wooden Award Final 15 and Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30.
One of just three high-major players to average at least 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in 2014-15, Portis ranked in the top 5 of the SEC in scoring (17.5/2nd), rebounding (8.9/4th), offensive rebounds (3.7/1st), defensive rebounds (5.2/5th) and field goal percentage (.536/2nd). Portis was a walking double-double for much of the second half of the season, producing an SEC-best nine double-doubles in league play, highlighted by the first five-game streak in program history. Taking on a league full of future NBA first round draft picks and some of the best big men in the country, Portis posted a double-double or 20-point game against 12 of the 13 SEC members in the regular season.
Over his two seasons as a Razorback, Portis has put his name in the conversation with some of Arkansas’ elite players in program history. Portis is the first player in program history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds as a sophomore. During Arkansas’ NCAA Tournament second round win over Wofford, Portis surpassed 600 points and 300 rebounds on the year, becoming the first player in program history to accomplish the feat.
Projected as a possible lottery pick (top 14), Portis would become the first player from Arkansas drafted since 2008 while the program has produced 11 first-round selections.
The NBA Draft Combine will be held from May 12-17 in Chicago while the NBA Draft is on Thursday, June 25, in New York City.
2014-15 BP QUICK HITS
• Just the third sophomore in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, joining Todd Day (1990) and Scotty Thurman (1994).
• First player in program history with 30 points and 10 rebounds in an SEC game against Vanderbilt with 32 points and 11 boards.
• First player since 1998 with 20 &15 in an SEC game with 21 points and 15 rebounds, including 10 offensive against LSU.
• First player in program history to go for 18+ points and 7+ rebounds in six straight games since Corliss Williamson did during his sophomore season in 1994.
• Ranked ninth nationally with 133 offensive rebounds, grabbing four or more in a game 16 times.
• Averaged 13.5 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament, good for the most by any player in the field of 68 that played at least two games.
• Grabbed 14 rebounds against UNC in the third round, equaling a program NCAA Tournament record.
• Fourth player in program history with 15 points and 13 rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game (vs. Wofford).
• Led Arkansas in scoring 19 times, on the glass 28 occasions and both in the same game 16 times.
• Had a 27-game double figure scoring streak that surpassed Todd Day’s 25-game streak from the end of 1990-91 into 1991-92.
IN-SEASON | POSTSEASON AWARDS
>>> Associated Press SEC Player of the Year
>>> SEC Player of the Year (Coaches)
>>> USBWA All-District VII Player of the Year
>>> Scout.com SEC Player of the Year
>>> Associated Press All-America Second Team
>>> USBWA All-America Second Team
>>> Sporting News All-America Third Team
>>> Associated Press All-SEC First Team (Unanimous)
>>> All-SEC First Team (Coaches)
>>> USBWA All-District VII Team
>>> NABC All-District 21 First Team
>>> Scout.com All-SEC First Team
>>> Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Finalist (5 Players)
>>> Oscar Robertson Trophy Finalist (14 Players)
>>> Lute Olson Award Finalist (21 Players)
>>> Wooden Award Final 15
>>> Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30
>>> CBS Sports National Player of the Week (Jan. 12)
>>> SEC Player of the Week (Jan. 12 & Feb. 16)
>>> NCAA.com Player of the Week (Feb. 9)
>>> Naismith Trophy Player of the Week (Feb. 10)