Little Rock Hall basketball star and Razorback hoops commit Bobby Portis knew the hard work was going to pay off – and it clearly has.
Portis (6-9, 225) was named as one of ESPN.com's Top 12 players in the 2013 class on Thursday -putting him a couple of steps ahead of Sylvan Hills' Archie Goodwin, a Kentucky signee who was ranked 14th in the 2012 ESPN rankings
The jump from 31 to 12 in the ESPN rankings follows a recent move up in the Scout.com rankings, where he was elevated to a five-star prospect and the No. 25 player overall in the country.
"I'm definitely honored, but I can't let it go to my head," Portis said. "I've worked so hard to get people to notice and I am not going to quit working hard now that they have. I have got to keep grinding."
Portis, who averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks last season as the Warriors won the state championship, has put up a strong effort this spring while playing AAU ball for the Arkansas Wings.
That was the main reason for his ascension in the rankings.
"I think those games have shown the scouts what I can do," Portis said. "I have just been trying to be myself – go rebound, go score some points, play defense and just try to do everything I can to control the game and help my team win."
The Wings are 9-5 and tied for the Division A lead so far this spring in the Nike EYBL league, including a 2-3 mark last weekend after a sizzling 7-2 start.
They will resume action this weekend in Oakland.
"We have been playing well as a team although we had a letdown last week when we went 2-3," Portis said. "Hopefully we'll pick it back up this weekend in Oakland."
Portis committed to Arkansas back on Aug. 6, 2011 after also getting offers from Florida, Memphis, etc. and has remained firm in that commitment.
He joins Forrest City big man Trey Thompson (6-9, 230) - who ESPN ranks as the 34th-best prospect in the 2014 class - as bigs that the Razorbacks want and need to land.
"I am a Razorback and am going to be a Razorback," Portis said. "I want to be part of bringing the program back to where it was in 1994 and 1995 when we were so good. That's important to me."
A recent story likely scared a few Razorback fans when he said he might take a few visits elsewhere.
"Yes, I did say that and I may do that," Portis said. "My mom thinks I should enjoy being a top player and take a few visits just to other places, just so we can make sure Arkansas is the right fit.
"But I can tell you that while I might do that, I know I want to be at Arkansas and playing for Coach Anderson and his staff," Portis said. "I know this."
Portis is playing alongside 6-10 Moses Kingsley (8.1, 5.4, 29 blocks) this spring and forming an imposing front line that has benefitted from the play of North Little Rock point guard Dayshawn Watkins.
Watkins is averaging 12.1 points per game leads the EYBL with 71 assists in 14 games.
"Moses is still wide open and I am still talking to him about coming to Arkansas and playing with me," Portis said. "He and I are really enjoying how well Dayshawn is playing. He is getting us the ball at the right time and we are putting it in the basket."
The Ascension of Bobby Portis
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Arkansas 6, Kansas State 5 (10)Arkansas won a wild game against Kansas State at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.
Hawgs Daily6:02 AM
Pair of Arkansas coaches see future Hog playArkansas had two coaches watch a future Razorback play baseball on Monday.
Hawgs DailyYesterday at 10:10 AM
Diamond Hogs don't fall much in pollsDespite losing their series against Auburn, the Diamond Hogs didn't fall too much in the polls and you might be surprised where they are in the RPI.
Hawgs DailyYesterday at 6:19 AM
Monday Tidbits - April 24Here are a couple notes about the Razorbacks left over from head coach Bret Bielema's Saturday press conference.
Hawgs DailyMonday at 5:26 PM