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Big week for future UA big man

Little Rock Hall forward Bobby Portis had a secret he had to sit on for three long weeks.

Bobby Portis wll play in the Nike Hoops Summit, the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic this spring.

And a couple of days before he could finally tell the world, the Arkansas signee received another impressive honor.

Big week.

“Big week,” Portis said Thursday, shortly before a press conference to announce that he had been named a McDonald’s All-American.

“Three weeks ago, I found out, and I’m like dang, I’m a McDonald’s All-American. I want to tell somebody. But then in the papers it said you can’t tell nobody until Feb. 14. And I’m like dang, that’s a long time from now. I’ve got to tell somebody, and my mom was like, ‘Naw, Bobby, you can’t tell nobody. Keep it under your hat. Don’t tweet it. Don’t put it on Instagram. Don’t do nothing.’ It was kind of hard for me to do that.”

On Tuesday, Portis also learned that he had been selected to the prestigious Jordan Brand Classic. He didn’t have to keep that one a secret. He didn’t know about it until it was announced.

The McDonald’s All-American Game will be played April 3 at the United Center in Chicago. The Jordan Brand Classic is April 13 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Portis (6-9, 225 pounds) is the 14th Razorback – or in his case, future Razorback – to be selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game – and the first since Olu Famitimi in 2003. He’s the seventh player from the Arkansas Wings summer team to earn the honor – and the sixth from in-state, according to Wings founder Ron Crawford.

He’s also one of 10 players in the nation – and the third Arkansan ever – to be selected to play in the Nike Hoops Summit, where he’ll go against a team of European players in April in Portland, Ore.

Which event is more exciting for Portis?

“I think the Nike Hoops Summit is bigger than both of those two (the McDonald’s game and the Jordan Brand Classic) because only 10 players make that game," he said. "Other than that, these two games are really equal.”

But make no mistake, the McDonald’s honor is special for Portis. He said he started dreaming of playing in the game in the ninth or 10th grade.

“I just want to show them my rebounding abilities and that I’m athletic and I can run the floor. I just want to compete out there and have fun, really,” he said.

“It’s pretty cool for me to be a McDonald’s All-American. I’m like a role model to everybody else who’s younger than me.”

Portis is the No. 3 power forward in the nation, the No. 24 overall prospect and the No. 1 player in the state of Arkansas, according to 247Sports. He is averaging 20.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 3 steals per game this season for Hall.

Portis will have at least one very familiar face in Chicago with him. Hall point guard Tyler Scaife, a Rutgers signee, was selected to play in the McDonald’s Girls All-American Game. It’s the first time a boy and girl from the same school in Arkansas have been selected to play in the McDonald’s games, something Hall Coach Jon Coleman called “phenomenal.”

“I’m so proud of them and happy for them or elated for them. It shows the fruits of their labor,” Coleman said.

“A lot of times when our practices are over, their practices are just beginning. That just blows me away. An example of that: We played (Little Rock) Catholic the other night. Once we got back from the game, Bobby asked, ‘Hey Coach, you got an hour and a half?’ I said sure. Immediately, he and one of his trainers, they went to work. That’s just an example of how they’ve been working, not just from ninth grade to their senior year but basically all their lives. They’re both such hard workers. I’m just proud they’re able to reap the benefits of their work.”

Arkansas Razorbacks’ McDonald’s All-Americans

Ricky Norton (1980)

Joe Kleine (1980)

Willie Cutts (1982)

Andrew Lang (1984)

Ron Huery (1986)

Todd Day (1988)

Lee Mayberry (1988)

Corliss Williamson (1992)

Darnell Robinson (1993)

Kareem Reid (1994)

Derek Hood (1995)

Glendon Alexander (1996)

Olu Famitimi (2003)

Bobby Portis (2013)

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