ESPN listed Bobby Portis, Arkansas freshman sensation, as the 16th ranked recruit in the nation. He leads Arkansas in scoring and rebounds with 13.1 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game. The 6’10 242 pound freshman has been named SEC Player of the Week 3 times. Mike Anderson, Head Coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, consistently plays 12 men every game. Arkansas has a deep and balanced team. Under Anderson, Arkansas has an aggressive defensive style of play. The goal is to wear the opposing team down over the course of the game. With this defense-first style of play, Portis has still been able to average 13.1 points a game and 6.6 rebounds. Because the Razorbacks have so much talent and balance, they do not have a traditional “go-to” player. Imagine the numbers Portis could achieve if Arkansas used him as its “go-to” player.
Arkansas has a 18-9 overall record and is 7-7 in SEC play and the team is winners of 5 of their last 6 games. On Thursday, February 27, 2014 on ESPN, the Arkansas Razorbacks will face the #17 ranked Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena. In the first meeting this year against the Wildcats at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Razorbacks defeated them in a thrilling game. Another win against the Wildcats and a highly favorable remaining regular season schedule should land the Razorbacks in the NCAA Division I Tournament. Without Bobby Portis, however, the team would not have achieved its current record and boasted high quality wins against Kentucky, Minnesota and Clemson.
With what Bobby Portis has been able to accomplish this year as a freshman, why has he not received as much national attention as other freshmen have? Is Bobby Portis the nation’s most underrated freshman basketball player?
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison