Arkansas sophomore Daniel Gafford is going pro, head coach Mike Anderson announced on Monday (video link via Nikki Chavanelle of Rivals). Gafford, who is hiring an agent and forgoing his remaining college eligibility, won’t play for the Razorbacks in the NIT, per Anderson.
Gafford, a 6’10” center, projected as a mid-first-round pick in 2018’s draft, but elected to return to Arkansas after his freshman year rather than declaring for the draft. With 2019’s draft class not considered as deep as last year’s group, there was a belief that Gafford could improve his stock and potentially be a lottery pick with a strong season.
While Gafford improved his numbers in his second year as a Razorback, averaging 16.9 PPG and 8.6 RPG in 32 contests, his didn’t make the sort of major strides observers had hoped for. His stock has slipped a little, as he now projects as an early second-round pick, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link).
As ESPN’s Mike Schmitz explains, Gafford isn’t a reliable play-maker or scorer yet, and his defensive fundamentals are still “a work in progress,” though his athleticism is tantalizing. The young big man ranks 35th overall on ESPN’s big board.