SEC basketball media day report:

Anderson: Bobby Portis not a hothead

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson answers a question during the Southeastern Conference men's NCAA college basketball media day Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson answers a question during the Southeastern Conference men's NCAA college basketball media day Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Arkansas Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said he was extremely surprised when he heard Bobby Portis punched a Chicago Bulls teammate in practice Tuesday.

Portis is a former Little Rock Hall star who was SEC Player of Year for Anderson's Razorbacks as a sophomore during the 2014-2015 season. He then entered the NBA Draft and was a first-round pick by the Bulls.

"Bobby is not a hothead," Anderson said Wednesday at SEC media day. "As a matter of fact, Bobby is one of those guys that tried to calm things down [in practice]."

Anderson said Portis and Moses Kingsley had physical practices against each other at Arkansas.

"He and Moses used to go at it quite a bit," Anderson said. "But it never got to the point of anybody throwing punches."

The Bulls announced Wednesday that Portis has been suspended for eight games for punching teammate Nikola Mirotic in an altercation during Tuesday's practice. Mirotic suffered a concussion and facial fractures.

"Evidently something had to provoke Bobby," Anderson said. "I don't know the details ... but I know Bobby the person. I don't think his makeup is like that.

"I guess we'll eventually get the true story."

Anderson said he hadn't talked to Portis, but they had exchanged text messages.

"I just texted him to ask if he was OK, and he texted me back that he's good," Anderson said.

Great experience

Daryl Macon said he was glad to represent the Razorbacks at SEC media day.

"It's been a great experience," Macon said. "It's something I've always wanted to do. I'm finally getting a chance to do it."

What's so great about coming to media day?

"When you're playing in this league and you're playing at this level, you want to experience lots of things," Macon said. "You don't want to just go out there and play ball.

"I mean, playing ball is fun. But there are a lot more things to experience, and coming to an event like this is a blessing."

No news

Razorbacks freshman guard Khalil Garland still hasn't been medically cleared to practice, and senior forward Arlando Cook remains on indefinite suspension.

"No update at this time," Coach Mike Anderson said.

Guardians of the game

Mike Anderson repeated at SEC media day that the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's program has not been contacted by the FBI regarding its investigation into college basketball bribery involving coaches, agents, and shoe and clothing apparel companies to entice top recruits to sign with certain schools.

Anderson said during Arkansas media day Oct. 3 that he runs at a clean program.

"Just kind of stunned like everybody else," Anderson said Wednesday. "Just kind of taken aback when you talk about the FBI and they actually have footage [of illegal dealings].

"It's very unfortunate because this is a game that we're the guardians of when you talk about the coaches. So for something like this to come down the pike, it hits at the core.

"But at the same time, this is something that's been exposed, and maybe a lot of good will come out of it."

Anderson stressed there are many coaches who aren't involved in bribery schemes.

"I don't think it should cast a cover over the whole rim of college basketball," he said. "We've got some great coaches, great universities.

"We've got some great programs that are doing the right things. So hopefully a lot of good comes out of it."

Picked sixth

Mike Anderson said he's not paying attention to Arkansas being picked to finish sixth in the SEC in a preseason media poll.

"I don't put a whole lot into the rankings," he said. "I know you guys get tired of hearing me say this, but that's somebody's opinion.

"It's like everybody's got a behind. Well, everybody's got an opinion, too. The key is what happens when it's all said and done."

Arkansas has finished higher in the SEC than predicted the previous four seasons.

The Razorbacks were picked eighth for the 2013-2014 season and finished fifth; picked third for the 2014-2015 season and finished second; picked 11th for the 2015-2016 season and finished eighth; and picked fifth last season and finished tied for third.

"I think this will be a team to be reckoned with when it's all said and done," Anderson said. "People are kind of sleeping on us, and our players will tell you that, too.

"But they've slept on us before, so that's OK."

At a glance

Arkansas men's schedule

DATE;OPPONENT;TIME

Oct. 27;Cent. Oklahoma+;7 p.m.

Nov. 3;Missouri Western+;7 p.m.

Nov. 10;Samford;7 p.m.

Nov. 12;Bucknell;5 p.m.

Nov. 17;Fresno State;7 p.m.

Nov. 23;Oklahoma%;4 p.m.

Nov. 24;UNC/Portland%;TBA

Nov. 26;TBA%;TBA

Dec. 2;at Houston;6:30 p.m.

Dec. 5;Colorado State;7 p.m.

Dec. 9;Minnesota;5:45 p.m.

Dec. 16;Troy^;7 p.m.

Dec. 19;Oral Roberts;7 p.m.

Dec. 27;CSU Bakersfield;7 p.m.

Dec. 30;Tennessee*;TBA

Jan. 2;at Mississippi State*;8 p.m.

Jan. 6;at Auburn*;5 p.m.

Jan. 10;LSU*;8 p.m.

Jan. 13;Missouri*;5 p.m.

Jan. 17;at Florida*;6 p.m.

Jan. 20;Mississippi*;2:30 p.m.

Jan. 23;at Georgia*;5:30 p.m.

Jan. 27;Oklahoma State;5 p.m.

Jan. 30;at Texas A&M*;8 p.m.

Feb. 3;at LSU*;2:30 p.m.

Feb. 6;South Carolina*;6 p.m.

Feb. 10;Vanderbilt*;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 13;at Mississippi*;6 p.m.

Feb. 17;Texas A&M*;3 p.m.

Feb. 20;Kentucky*;8 p.m.

Feb. 24;at Alabama*;5 p.m.

Feb. 27;Auburn*;8 p.m.

Mar. 3;at Missouri*;5 p.m.

Mar. 7-11;SEC Tournament, St. Louis

*SEC game

%at Phil Knight Invitational, Portland, Ore.

^at Verizon Arena, North Little Rock

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