<
>

Versatile Portis confident he can make impact with Bulls

11h
Bulls draftee Bobby Portis said his "passion always uplifts my teammates." AP Photo/Christian K. Lee

CHICAGO -- Bobby Portis doesn't want to be defined by a position. He's not exactly sure where he fits in the Chicago Bulls' plans this season under first-year head coach Fred Hoiberg, but he is confident he can make an impact.

"I feel like I don't have a position," Portis, the No. 22 pick in Thursday's NBA draft, said Monday at his introductory news conference. "I feel like I'm a basketball player. I do the things that the coach asks me to do, whether it's power forward or center. I bring a lot of different things to a basketball team, whether it's blocking shots, rebounding, defending or scoring. I do a lot of different things at various times, so to me, I'm a combo power forward/center. It doesn't matter to me what I'm able to do. I just try to go out there and do the things that I'm capable of."

The big man from Arkansas hopes the work ethic that helped him become the SEC Player of the Year can propel him into minutes as a rookie in the NBA. Portis' work ethic and versatility are what appealed to Hoiberg and Bulls general manager Gar Forman. The Bulls believe they got high value with their selection of Portis late in the first round.

Portis acknowledged Monday that he was surprised he ended up in Chicago, given that he was projected by some to be a late lottery pick and hadn't even worked out for the Bulls.

"Very surprised," Portis said. "Once it got past 19, the Washington Wizards, that was the last team that I worked out for. I got kind of nervous because I didn't work [out] for any other team past 19, so I didn't know where I would fall. But God did his work, and somehow coach Hoiberg and his staff picked me, so I'm very grateful for this opportunity."

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson, who was in attendance Monday, isn't sure why Portis fell in the draft, but he believes Portis landed in a good situation with the Bulls.

"I can't answer that question," Anderson said when asked why Portis dropped. "Sometimes God has a way of putting you in the right place, and I think this is a great fit for him."

Portis certainly made a good first impression on the media and Bulls personnel in attendance Monday at the Advocate Center. As the news conference started, Portis sat down with three boxes of doughnuts in front of him and offered them to the crowd. That might be good practice for a rookie trying to fit into a veteran team.

"I feel like my passion always uplifts my teammates," Portis said. "I make my teammates play harder. I make my teammates play hard then I do. I think that's something that I can bring instantly, just me playing hard and make everyone else play hard."