Arkansas sophomore Daniel Gafford will skip the Razorbacks’ upcoming appearance in the NIT and instead focus his energies on preparing for the 2019 NBA Draft, coach Mike Anderson announced on Monday.
Gafford, a 6-foot-11 center who leads his team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, is widely projected as a first-round draft pick this summer. Last offseason he debated turning pro, but instead returned for a second season at Arkansas and starred in a primary role.
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“Daniel Gafford has put his name in the draft, will hire an agent and will not participate in the NIT,” Anderson said. “He could have left last year, but he came back and developed, got better, and I think he’ll be a first-round draft pick.”
Gafford is ranked as the No. 31 overall player in the 2019 NBA Draft prospect rankings, and the No. 3 center among prospects expected to declare. As a sophomore this season he averaged 16.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Arkansas was bounced in the first round of the SEC Tournament by Florida and finished with a 17-15 overall record.