MAUMELLE – Fresh off being named one of the 10 members of the prestigious Nike Hoop Summit Team, Arkansas signee Bobby Portis went to work Saturday afternoon to prove he deserved the honor.
Portis (6-10, 230) had 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists as his Little Rock Hall team rallied from down eight points late to edge Bentonville 65-64 in the fourth annual Arkansas Hoops Challenge.
"We have a saying that to achieve you have to believe and that's what we did today," Portis said. "We had some big plays late and just stuck together as a team to get it done."
Portis is just the third Arkansan to be named to the Hoop Summit squad, which plays a team of European All-Stars in April in Portland, Oregon.
He joins former Sylvan Hills star and current Kentucky star Archie Goodwin and former Razorback Michael Washington of McGehee as the only Arkansas players named to the squad in its 17-year history.
"When I was younger I saw (former Kentucky standout and current NBA player) Anthony Davis play in it and I made it one of my goals to make the team," Portis said. "I am very honored to be part of the team."
Arkansas Wings coach Ron Crawford says the honor is a huge one bestowed upon Portis by USA Basketball and it is the same committee – headed by Chairman Jerry Colangelo - which selects the Olympic Team.
"To be one of 10 young men chosen in not an all-star game – it is not counted as an all-star game – but is a game where you are selected by the USA Basketball to play for your country…and to me as big an honor as you can get and there are going to be some (NBA) lottery picks that don't get chosen for this team.
"I know a lot of the kids think the McDonald's All-American game is the most prestigious, but I don't think there is a bigger honor in basketball than the Hoop Summit because there are only 10 players chosen and it is first class all the way," Crawford added. "Bobby was chosen for his versatility and the fact that he can play two positions on offense and the fact that he is a player that can guard the Europeans outside."
Belmont signee Nick Smith had 17 points and 7 to lead Bentonville, which led 56-48 with just over six minutes left.
Portis, who is likely to be a McDonald's All-American selection as well, is keeping up with his future team.
"Marshawn (Powell) was big in that (Oklahoma game) and was feeling it when he scored 33 points," Portis said. "We are kind of young right now, but the big key is that we have to box out and get more rebounds. I think we are playing hard and competing, but we have got to go get some rebounds."
Portis teamed with fellow Razorback signee Moses Kingsley (6-10, 220) to lead the Wings to the 17-and-under AAU national title this season.
He has noticed that the defensive-minded Kingsley has been putting up 18 to 20 points per game lately for Huntington (WV) Prep.
"You can tell he is getting better on offense now and I can tell talking to him that his confidence is really crazy right now," Portis said. "He keeps that up and we are going to be unstoppable as a duo once we get to Arkansas."
O o o
In other Arkansas Hoop Challenge games on Saturday:
Fort Smith Northside 68, Forrest City 63 (OT)
Arkansas junior target Trey Thompson (6-9, 230) had 17 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Thompson, who also had three steals, three assists and a block, has offers from Arkansas, Memphis, Florida, Tennessee, Florida State and Mississippi State.
Jace Richardson had 31 points and fellow junior guard Carl Eckes 15 for the Grizzlies.
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North Little Rock 68, Clarksville 60
UAB signee Dayshawn Watkins and Thomas Alexander had 20 points and sophomore KeVaughn Allen nine for the winners.
Deven Simms had 22 to lead Clarksville while ORU signee Dederick Lee had 15.
Clarksville (7-3) had beaten Bentonville 78-52 on Friday night.
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East Poinsett County 69, Maumelle 58
Freshman Malik Monk had 36 points and Arkansas State signee Jamar Sturdivant 18 as the Warriors picked up the victory by rallying from a seven-point halftime deficit.
Monk is the younger brother of former Arkansas football and basketball star Marcus Monk and cousin of current Razorback Rashad "Ky" Madden.
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Little Rock Parkview 70, Fayetteville 59
Missouri junior commit Anton Beard had 23 points and Mississippi State signee I.J. Ready 21 for Parkview.
Manuale Watkins had 14 and Missouri State signee Tyler McCullough 10 for Fayetteville.
O o o
Jonesboro 69, Jacksonville 58
Sophomore Marquise Pointer had 12 points and junior Kahron Ross 11 for the Hurricane.
Senior Justin McCleary had 19 points to lead the Red Devils.
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Pulaski Academy 71, Shiloh Christian 63
Senior Brandon Brady - drawing interest from Lehigh - had a game-high 33 points for the Bruins in the win while Creighton signee Darian Harris, Ryder Matthews and Daniel Matthews all had 18 for the Saints.
Arkansas football commit Hunter Henry is not playing basketball this season, but was on hand for the game.
Portis Celebrates Big Honor
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