All-American Portis, Qualls Ponder Decisions

Arkansas All-American Bobby Portis and junior Michael Qualls continues to ponder their decisions to return to play for the Razorbacks next season or enter the 2015 draft, where ESPN.com draft insider Chad Ford has him currently listed as 14th-best available player but also lists Portis at 50-50 on his decision.

A day after he was named the school’s first basketball All-American in 20 years, Arkansas sophomore star Bobby Portis has still not yet made public whether he will enter the 2015 NBA draft.

Mike Anderson said the decisions of Portis and Razorback junior Michael Qualls are still being researched.

"Right now they are in the process of just letting us gather information," Anderson said on a Tuesday appearance on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly. "They is an NBA advisory committee that we will submit some things to - some paper work to the NBA - and get an idea of where these guys could fall or project in the NBA draft. Not only that, but get even further evaluation of where they are at.

"And then give them that information and sit down with them and their families and let them make the decision in terms of what they want to do. I think right now they are enjoying being a college student but as that decision gets closer than you have to be aware.

Anderson was asked if he had a feel in which way the pair - the SEC's top-scoring duo - was leaning.

"My job is to just provide the information," Anderson said. "There are still some things we need to get, but at the end of the day I want them to do what is best for them.

"I think the thing you weight is do you just want to go and have a place to play or do you want to make it a career. There are a lot of guys that we have seen that with guys who jump in there and they are not quite ready for it. It is a major task. It is a big-time step because you are talking about the best in the best in the world against having the opportunity to mature and get better as a player.

"You can then use the information you gather as a critique to get better in certain areas. That is the thing that you have to wrestle with."

ESPN.com’s Chad Ford - who lists Portis as 50-50 on whether he stays or goes - ranks him as the 14th-best potential player in the draft and Qualls as the 57th.

“Portis had a very rough shooting tournament,” Ford said. “He went 10-for-27 from the field and struggled to assert himself offensively in either game.

“However, he was absolutely terrific on the boards grabbing 13 rebounds against Wofford and 14 against North Carolina. He also had three assists and five steals against the Tar Heels, showing off his bona fide defensive skills.

“Portis is a bubble lottery pick right now and nothing he did or didn't do here should chance that. Look for him to go in the 13 to 18 range.”

NBAdraft.net has removed Portis from its 2015 draft and put him into its 2016 one and has him being selected by the Boston Celtics at the 15th slot.

It compares Portis to Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe.

“Portis has the prototypical size for a PF at the next level and has really improved from his freshman to sophomore season,” NBAdraft.net writes. “He’s continued to improve upon his range which is a positive but really needs to develop a better back to the basket game and at least one go-to move in the post before he will be a truly effective player at the next level.

“The good news is that he has an NBA ready body and can concentrate on the technical parts of his game instead of adding weight and muscle. Will need to continue to be a guy that gives maximum effort from night to night to make up for his deficiencies.”

That same 2016 mock draft has Qualls going in the second round - also to the Celtics - at No. 45.

Several other SEC players have already announced for the draft, including Florida’s Michael Frazier and the LSU duo of Jarrell Martin and Jordan Mickey, who announced his decision on Tuesday.

That list is expected to be expanded by several Kentucky players after the Wildcats finish up in the NCAA Tournament.

“Portis might not steal many highlights, but the guy can really play,” Ford said.

Portis, who has started all 70 games of his college career, was named Monday to the Associated Press second-team All-American squad and became the first Razorback to earn that honor since his mentor Corliss Williamson back in 1995.

Portis averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds while blocking 50 shots this season while leading Arkansas to a 27-9 mark and being named the SEC Player of the Year by both AP and the SEC Coaches.

“Bobby is worthy of every award he receives,” Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. “He’s one of the hardest working players I’ve ever been around and the best part about him is that all his goals are team oriented.

“Since he arrived on campus his focus has been to become a great player and everyday he truly works at it with the best yet to come.”

Portis has also been named a second-team USBWA All-American and third-team Sporting News All-American.

He is also a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the Lute Olson Award and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.

Portis is also the first player in school history to have both 1,000 points and 500 rebounds by the end of his sophomore season.

He is only one of three players - along with Todd Day and Scotty Thurman - to go over 1,000 points as a sophomore.





Michael Qualls


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