Bobby Portis may be the greatest Razorback in the modern get-to-the NBA-ASAP era of college basketball. It's not a big group of candidates (Joe Johnson, Ronnie Brewer, Patrick Beverley for example), but nearly everyone else in that group enjoyed a solid if not highly successful NBA careers, which is what many expect from Portis.
Portis came to Arkansas as a 5* McDonald's All-American from Little Rock and lived up to the hype by his sophomore season, in which he won SEC Player of the Year, was named to numerous All-American teams, and led Arkansas fans to enjoy various "first time since [insert random '90s event]". He leaves as the only Hog ever to accumulate 1,000 points and 500 rebounds by the end of his sophomore year.
It should also be noted that Portis is one of the most beloved Razorbacks in recent memory. From numerous tales of his hard work ethic to an easy recruitment in which he committed to his home state school early and never wavered, fans adore him and there has never been the smallest reason to feel otherwise. Few Hogs have taken as much pride in representing the school, fans, and state as much as Portis.
At 6'11" and 245 lbs., Portis projects well as a power forward.
He played hard at both ends but really grew into his role on offense. He was more skilled and more aggressive as a sophomore, as evidenced by both taking more shots and making a higher percentage of them. If fact, his shooting percentage actually improved in conference play compared to non-conference (54.1% overall - 57.6% in SEC games), a rarity among the power conferences.
Most obviously, Portis added a midrange jump shot to his repertoire this year, which allowed him more flexibility on offense. He could always score down low, but now has to be accounted for almost anywhere on the floor. He did on occasion enjoy shooting threes, but I don't see him continuing that with the longer threes at the NBA level.
Portis also became an elite offensive rebounder, ranking 10th in the country at 3.69 offensive boards per game and grabbing five or more on nine different occasions. His career high was 10 offensive rebounds in one game and it came against fellow NBA Draft hopeful Jarell Martin of LSU. The most memorable one was this tip-in at the buzzer to beat Alabama:
He's the type of player who can find ways to help the team even when his shot isn't falling. In the NCAA Tournament, Portis struggled from the field wasn't as efficient as he had been all season, shooting a combined 9-25 from the field. However, he hit the boards hard for 13 and 14 rebounds against Wofford and North Carolina, respectively, and earned enough trips to the free throw line to finish with 15 and 18 points in those games, and claim a double-double for both of Arkansas' tournament games.
He maintained a decent 73.7% free throw percentage. Underrated ball-handler for his size. He runs the floor really well even though he's not a great jumper. Solid open-floor player.
As has been noted elsewhere, it's hard to find many true "weaknesses" in Portis' game. He does so many things well that his biggest question is more of a search for elite skills.
You could say that Portis is an average defender and rebounder for his size. Arkansas emphasizes deflecting the ball on defense, and that helped him average over a steal per game. However, his blocked-shot numbers are one of the few stats that actually went down from his freshman to sophomore year, albeit only slightly. He can protect the rim and get rebounds adequately but he's got work to do if he is to become an elite player in those areas.
He did struggle somewhat in the postseason after he was named SEC Player of the Year. He was phenomenal in the first half of Arkansas' first SEC Tournament game against Tennessee, but starting in the second half of that game and going on through to the Hogs' elimination against North Carolina, the efficiency he displayed throughout the year wasn't there. As mentioned, he was still effective in other ways, but was not the force we had seen throughout the year.
That sparked some to wonder how Portis would fare against better competition, but he was able to hold his own against the best. Against Kentucky at Rupp Arena, Portis was 6-10 inside the arc and finished with a very respectable 15 and 8. At SMU early in the year, he was 8-13 for 22 points, at Iowa State he was 8-10 for 19 points to go along with 8 rebounds. The only true concern would be only two rebounds against Kentucky in the SEC Championship Game, but enough quality performances more than balance that out.
The Bobby Portis Game came when Arkansas hosted Alabama in 2014. Portis was a freshman and set what would be his career high with 35 points against the Tide. Further, everyone else for Arkansas was ice cold. Nobody else had more than 8 points. The team only scored 65 points. That was the first time Portis truly carried the team to victory.
Other contenders for Portis' best game would be the 2015 Vanderbilt game (32 points on 13-18 shooting and 9 offensive rebounds) and the 2015 LSU game (21 points on 10-15 shooting and 10 offensive rebounds).
MORE STATS HIGHLIGHTS
We'll just put up this info graphic from UA here, and this is just for his sophomore season.
Draft Profile Video from BostonCeltics.com
SB Nation Mock Draft: Portis was selected 15th to Atlanta
NBA DRAFT PROJECTIONS
Portis has been invited to attend the Draft in person and most projections generally have him going anywhere between 13-20. The teams in that range are Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee, Houston, Washington, and Toronto.