If this really is the end, then what a way to go out.
In what might have been his final home game, Daniel Gafford put up a monstrous 29-point, 16-rebound effort (a career high) on Saturday to secure a much-needed win against Alabama. He closes out conference play as the only player in the SEC to rank among the league’s top 5 in:
Rebounding (1st, 8.7)
FG percentage (1st, .660)
scoring (4th, 17.0)
Blocked shots (3rd, 2.1)
Offensive rebounds (1st, 2.9) and defensive rebounds (3rd, 5.9)
Given the eye-popping stats, it’s no wonder Gafford today won the SEC Player of the Week award. Sharing it with him is South Carolina’s Chris Silva.
On the week, Gafford averaged 24.5 points and 10 rebounds and helped secure the Hogs a No. 9 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament.
The El Dorado native scored a game-high 20 points at Vanderbilt and game-high 29 versus Alabama. The 36-point win at Vandy marked the second-largest SEC win in Arkansas history. Gafford only missed three shots (8-of-11) and added four blocked shots.
Versus Alabama, Gafford had a double-double (11 points and 12 rebounds) in the first half alone. He became just the third player in the NCAA this season to have as many as 29 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two assists in a game. And those 16 rebounds? That’s tied for the fourth-most by a Razorback versus SEC competition.
Against Bama, Daniel Gafford was responsible for Arkansas’ first 11 points (scored six and assisted on five) and later scored 10-straight points for Arkansas in the second half. His most impressive deuce was a thrilling, full-court dribbling exhibit which resulted in a Eurostep and finger roll.
It’s at 4:17 below. NBA scouts: Eat your heart out! (If Gafford does head to the NBA after his sophomore season, as is widely assumed, then these are the kinds of skills that will help his stock rise into the lottery realm once unleashed at the NBA Draft Combine.)
This is the second time Big Dan has earned SEC Player of the Week. The first time came on Nov. 15 when Gafford scored a then career-high 27 points and had a then career-high 12 rebounds in a home win against Indiana.
Arkansas will play the first game Thursday (Mar. 14) at the 2019 SEC Tournament against the #8 seed Gators. Tip-off at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena is set for noon.