Remember how dominant the Kentucky Wildcats were this past season? Remember all the NBA talent they had?
Well, Arkansas’ Bobby Portis was named SEC Player of the Year. At 6-11, 245 pounds, Portis averaged 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.2 assists and shot 53.6 percent from the floor. He was the first player in Arkansas history with at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, and he’ll soon be coming to an NBA arena near you.
Portis is a projected first-round pick in the NBA Draft, which will be held at the Barclays Center on June 25.
“It’s kind of overwhelming at this stage,” Portis said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Just two months ago, I was in college, grinding in school, going to class every day. Now I’m just trying to realize the dream. So I think it’s kind of overwhelming at this point, but once I get my name called and I’m officially sworn into the NBA, I think it will be cool. All kids dream of hearing their name called and shaking the commissioner’s hand.”
Portis has worked out for several teams thus far, including the Pacers and Heat.
“I’ve had a dozen workouts so far, and and so far everyone has been great,” Portis said. “I haven’t had a workout where I didn’t perform my best. I came in and I’ve done the things that Bobby Portis is capable of. I’ve come in and worked as hard as I can. So every workout, I’ve been getting great feedback from every person in the workout. They’ll contact my agent and they’ll just tell him some of the things that I did well and just give him some good insight about some of the things that I’ve done.”
Portis has received team merchandise from every team for which he has worked out, which begs the question: What will he do with all of those clothes once he’s drafted? After all, he can’t play for a dozen teams.
“I’ll just give it to my little brothers,” he said. “I think they’ll want to wear it more than I will. I can’t wear the other team’s gear.”
Portis sees himself in the mold of a Tristan Thompson.
“I try to model my game after Kevin Garnett, but ultimately I think I‘ll play like Tristan Thompson for awhile,” he said. “Then I’ll expand my game out to the three-point line. Right now, I’m just trying to work on being more of a consistent three-point shooter because to be a dominant stretch-4 in the NBA, you have to be able to shoot the trey ball really well. So that’s something I’m trying to work on so I can be that dominant stretch 4 that I know I can be.”
Guest fill-in co-host Andrew Bogusch found the Thompson comparison interesting. Thompson is averaging 10.7 rebounds during the playoffs, which is great, but he’s also averaging 8.8 points, which is kind of ho-hum. Isn’t Portis better offensively?
“I’m not going to say anything or start anything,” Portis said, laughing. “I can score the ball in a lot of ways. I can shoot the mid-range jumper, I can post up, I can do a lot of things with the basketball. Everyone says I doesn’t do anything great, but I do a lot of great things.”