FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Bobby Portis said last month he wanted to be “the greatest Razorback of all-time” when his career at Arkansas was finished.
The finale came Tuesday when the 6-foot-11 sophomore said he was declaring for the NBA after a standout season that saw him named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.
“Unbelievable experience for me at the University of Arkansas these past two years,” Portis wrote on his Twitter page. “The love I have for this program is unconditional, but I’ve decided to forego my junior year of college to take that next step and entering into the NBA draft.”
Portis, the key cog in Arkansas’ rebirth under coach Mike Anderson, averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds this season, leading the Razorbacks (27-9) to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.
The breakout season came a year after the prep All-American from Little Rock averaged 12.3 points per game as a freshman, and Portis’ arrival in Fayetteville also coincided with back-to-back postseason appearances. The Razorbacks reached the second round of the NIT last season, and they won their first NCAA tournament game this season before losing to North Carolina.
Arkansas’ 27 wins were the most in a season for the program since the 1994-95 season, when the school reached the second of back-to-back national championship games. Portis was named the team’s outstanding player at a banquet on Monday night, but he didn’t speak publicly about his pending decision to stay in college or enter the NBA draft.
The soft-spoken forward did tell The Associated Press last month that he planned to make the decision in concert with his mother and childhood mentor Corliss Williamson, the former Arkansas great who led the Razorbacks to the 1994 national championship.
Anderson said Monday night that he had talked briefly with Portis and fellow standout Michael Qualls about their futures, and that the two would talk in detail this week about their draft prospects.
“We have some [discussions], and we’ll get more into it because I’ve been out recruiting as well,” Anderson said Monday.
While Arkansas still awaits the decision of Qualls, a second-team All-SEC selection this season, Portis has made his.
After struggling at times to adapt to the rugged interior play of the SEC as a freshman, when he shot 50.9 percent from the field, Portis was at his best as a sophomore.
He was second in the conference while shooting 53.6 percent from the field, and he had a season-high 32 points in a win over Vanderbilt on Jan. 10. Portis also finished in double figures in rebounds in 15 games, helping to improve his 6.8 rebounds per game as a freshman.
This article was written by Kurt Voigt from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.