One of Bucks’ Pro Hog Heroes Makes a Plea to John Calipari

Patrick Beverley, Bobby Portis, Arkansas basketball, Milwaukee Bucks, Pro Hogs
photo credit: Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks entered Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers with their backs against the wall. Down 3-1 in the series and missing both of its star players in two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and eight-time All-Star Damian Lillard, Milwaukee was in a tough spot.

But a pair of former Arkansas Razorbacks stepped up as the unlikely heroes to lead the Bucks to a 115-92 victory and keep their season alive.

Bobby Portis was the team’s joint-leader in scoring, alongside forward Khris Middleton, with 29 points on 14-24 shooting. The Little Rock native also made it a double-double with ten rebounds, and his huge impact could be seen in his plus/minus rating of +30.

Patrick Beverley had a double-double of his own, scoring 13 points and leading the team in assists with 12 dimes. He also added four rebounds and two steals and one epic court-departing scream, as you can at least see below. The Bucks were +36 while he was on the floor.

The Bucks have been without the face of their franchise since April 9, as Antetokounmpo has been sidelined with a calf strain. After scoring 30+ points in each of the first two games of the series, Lillard picked up an achilles injury in game three that has sidelined him since then. Head coach Doc Rivers said that both players are “very close” to returning.

Back in January, the Bucks made the controversial move to fire first-year head coach Adrian Griffin after just 43 games – despite having one of the best records in the league. The veteran Rivers was brought in to stabilize some apparent locker room issues, but the Bucks have had posted just a 17-19 record since his appointment, which caused them to slip down to a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

Bobby Portis and Patrick Beverley: Dynamic Duo

In February, the franchise made the move to acquire defensive specialist and Pro Hog Patrick Beverley, an elite trash talker with a penchant for instigation. He’s the type of player you hate to play against, but love to have on your team.

The two former Razorbacks have proven to be quite the pairing in Milwaukee, as their energy and big personalities have made them fan favorites in the city. Now in his fourth season with the franchise, Portis has earned the title of the city’s “Official Hype Man” and been dubbed the “Mayor of Milwaukee” by Bucks fans.

On “The Pat Bev Podcast” in early March, Beverley was complimentary of Portis’ efforts this season as he has averaged 13.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in his patented sixth man role.

“Bobby Portis has been f***ing balling,” Beverley said. “Shoutout to Bobby Portis man, he was hooping.”

His co-host, Adam Ferrone, also pointed out the duo’s instant chemistry together.

“The internet is saying it’s not fair for you and Bobby Portis to be on the same team…the intensity that the two of you bring,” Ferrone said.

Beverley cited their connection to the Arkansas basketball program as the key factor in that relationship.

“That’s my dog,” Beverley said. “Woo Pig…Woo f***ing Pig, man…That’s Razorback sh*t.”

NBA fans have clearly taken notice of the duo’s hot streak, even suggesting that the addition of Beverley in Milwaukee had a “power up” effect on Portis. One user went as far as to compare his recent form to Hall of Fame power forward Kevin Garnett. Given their shared Razorback ties, it’s clear that the two feed off each other’s energy in games.

While the superstar duo of Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard received most of the plaudits, during the regular season, and deservingly so, the postseason has made it clear that Portis and Beverley play important roles that are essential to the Bucks’ success – and fans have taken notice of their contributions. Milwaukee certainly holds the mantle of being “Arkansas’ team” in the NBA, and gives Razorback fans someone to root for in the playoffs.

Arkansas Basketball Backgrounds for Portis Beverley

Portis signed for Mike Anderson as a five-star prospect and a McDonald’s All American in the class of 2013. His impact was felt immediately, as he averaged 12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his first season, earning SEC All-Freshman team honors.

His sophomore season was dominant, as the Little Rock native averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds as he led the Razorbacks to a 27-9 record and a second place finish in the SEC. For his efforts, he was named the 2015 SEC Player of the Year – the first Hog to receive that award since Corliss Williamson in 1994 and 1995.

Portis was selected as the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls, and is now in his 10th season in the Association. The best moment of his career came in 2021, as he helped the Bucks win their first NBA Championship in 50 years.

Beverley signed with Arkansas after his senior year of high school saw him average 37.3 points per game. The scrappy point guard was named to the SEC All-Freshman team after he posted impressive averages of 13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. After another impressive year in his sophomore season, Beverley was suspended from the team and landed overseas following an academic integrity violation.

The Chicago native spent five seasons in Europe before he made his NBA debut for the Houston Rockets in 2013 as a 25-year-old. His defensive brilliance has made him a mainstay in the league ever since, as the journeyman guard is now in his 12th season with his seventh different franchise. 

John Calipari, Are You Listening?

Beverley took to his podcast on April 10 to weigh in on Arkansas’ hiring of John Calipari as its new head coach. Although his time with the Razorbacks ended on a sour note, the Chicago native said he’s got nothing but love for the program and is excited by recent events. Beverley also mentioned that he had previously reached out to folks in Arkansas for a potential homecoming, but never received a response.

“Hey John, I had some falling out at Arkansas and I didn’t know if I was able to get back there,” Beverley said. “Just let me slide through now. I want to come through now…I don’t know if I can even throw a camp there. Hey Cal, we know some of the same people anyway, man. Come on the pod! We gotta get Cal on the pod.”

“I never diss Arkansas. It’s always love. I be going down there [asking] ‘Can I get a gym? Can I get in? Can I lift?’ I don’t really get a response…I’m like ‘damn.’”

Since that episode, John Calipari has said that the Arkansas basketball practice facility is open to all former Razorbacks, or any of his own former players.

So now there’s nothing to stop Beverley from making his return to Bud Walton Arena. Although, with the way he and Portis are playing, work may need to take precedence for at least a few more weeks.


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