Portis’ trek to UA to end today

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, November 16, 2012
Bobby Portis will sign with Arkansas on Friday.
Photo by Michael Woods
Bobby Portis will sign with Arkansas on Friday.

— Little Rock Hall power forward Bobby Portis is expected to sign his national letter of intent to play his college basketball at Arkansas at 1 p.m. today during a ceremony at his school.

“It’s just a prestigious moment,” said Portis, who’s rated the No. 13 prospect in the nation by Van Coleman, the national director of basketball for “It’s kind of cool for me to be able to sign with a college, because over the years I had to work hard to get where I am now.”

Portis, 6-9 1/2, 220 pounds, began fulfilling his dream to be a Razorback when he orally committed to the Hogs in August 2011 before his junior season. He said he never doubted he would achieve his goal.

“I just kept faith in God,” Portis said. “My mother told me hard work always pays off. I had people in my ear and telling me if I work hard I would be rewarded in the end. I just stayed with it and stayed humble and just kept pushing to be the player I am now. “

Portis, who averaged about 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 block shots per game as a junior while leading the Warriors to their second consecutive Class 7A state title, said he believes the Hogs aren’t getting the respect they deserve on the national level.

“Right now, I think everyone is sleeping on the Razorbacks,” Portis said, “because they don’t think we’re going to be as a good as some people say we’re going to be. They just think Kentucky. They get 5 five-stars a year, and they’re not looking at what the Arkansas coaches are doing. They’re bringing in good players and good kids into the program, and everyone is buying into the system.”


In January, Fayetteville quarterback Austin Allen and linebacker Brooks Ellis participated in the Proving Ground national combine in Phoenix and earned invitations to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, Calif..

Rogers Heritage junior quarterback Josh Qualls said he hopes to receive an invite to the 2014 game when he attends the Proving Ground combine Jan. 3, also in Carson, Calif.. He will be one of more than 300 invited prospects participating in the combine.

Qualls, 6-1, 175 pounds, 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is drawing interest from Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee, LSU, Oklahoma State, Norte Dame and others. He attended the July Prodigy camp in Naples, Fla., and turned the heads with his performance.

“They started paying attention after that second day into that third day,” said Hal Qualls, the War Eagles quarterback coach and Josh’s father. “They were really talking to him.”

For the season, Qualls connected on 163 of 295 passes for 2,388 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for 213 yards and 4 touchdowns.

After his team defeated Rogers Heritage 43-36 in the first round of the playoffs, veteran West Memphis Coach Lanny Dauksch complemented Qualls after he completed 28 of 45 passes for 398 yards and 4 touchdowns.

“He compared him to a pitcher: He hits what he aims at,” Hal Qualls said. “It’s almost like a hand off. He very rarely throws a bad ball.”

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 23 on 11/16/2012