Right before tip-off Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago, it finally hit Arkansas basketball signee Bobby Portis of Little Rock Hall.
"When they called out my name, it went through my head that all my hard work had paid off and that I truly was a McDonald's All-American and am thought of as one of the best players in the country," Portis said. "It was very humbling and then I just said to myself ‘let's go do this thing right.'"
Portis (6-10, 225) did just that by scoring 10 of his 12 points in the opening half and helping lead the West over the East 110-99 in the McDonald's All-American game before a crowd of 15,818 at the home of the NBA's Chicago Bulls.
Portis, ranked as the 17th-best player in the country by Scout.com, was 4-of-5 from the field, knocked down his only 3-pointer and made 3-of-4 free throws while also blocking a shot and grabbing a rebound.
"I just tried to get out and run the court hard because I know that guards tend to dominate all-star games by just getting the ball and heading up court," Portis said. "I just wanted to play hard and give the crowd what they wanted – some exciting plays. I think we all did that."
Portis was one of 10 future SEC players – including at least six future Kentucky players - among the 24 that played in the game.
"That's a lot of talent right there coming into the our league," Portis said. "It was great to see their styles of play and what they did to get themselves in the game."
Portis averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and four block shots this season while leading Little Rock Hall to its fourth straight state title.
One of his best moments of the trip to Chicago came off the court.
"We went to the Ronald McDonald's House there in Chicago and it was just a very humbling experience," Portis said. "You saw the sick kids there that don't have anything and it made me realize how lucky I am as a kid for all I have and also how much I want to make sure I give back to help those less fortunate."
Little Rock Hall girls star Tyler Scaife –a Rutgers signee – had 15 points 4 assists to lead her team to a 92-64 West win over East in the McDonald's girls game.
Portis still has a couple of all-star events left this month with the Jordan Brand Classic on April 13 at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn up first.
He'll then travel to Portland, Oregon, as one of 10 players who will represent the USA in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 20.
"It's going to be a busy and a fun time for me," Portis said. "I'm just really honored and want to go play well."
He'll then turned his attention to Arkansas, where he will join Houston transfer Alandise Harris and Huntington (WV) Prep center Moses Kingsley (6-10, 232) in hoping to lead the Razorbacks back to prominence.
"I think the three of us are going to bring toughness, rebounding and leadership, which are some things that we (the Razorbacks) need," Portis said. "I saw some hunger from the Arkansas players this season and we are getting better. We are going to get Arkansas back to where they used to be."
Portis Shines On Big Stage
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