FAYETTEVILLE – As the 22nd selection in the first round of Thursday night’s NBA draft in Brooklyn, N.Y., University of Arkansas sophomore Bobby Portis was selected by the Chicago Bulls.
Interviewed by ESPN right after his selection, 6-10 forward Portis, the SEC Player of the Year and an All-American in 2014-15, averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds and blocked 50 shots leading coach Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks to a 27-9 record.
One of Arkansas’ worst games, a 95-77 loss, was against Iowa State, coached by now Bulls first-year coach Fred Hoiberg, but Portis impressed onlookers, including Hoiberg, apparently, preserving to score 19 points with eight rebounds, even as the Hogs struggled.
“Bobby Portis always plays hard, that’s what you love about him and has the ability to score and give you the offense you need from a low post player,” ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said during ESPN’s draft telecast Thursday.
“There are three players who had over 600 points and 300 rebounds and Bobby Portis is one of them.”
Portis, a graduate of Little Rock Hall, scored 629 points with 321 rebounds in 2014-15 and was All-SEC as a freshman in 2013-2014. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose projected of Portis: “He is going to be a performer right away.”
On the NBA’s rookie salary scale, Portis likely will be offered at least $1.16 million next season and at least $1.21 million for 2016-17.