Daniel Gafford: Naismith National Player of the Year Candidate

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Razorback sophomore Daniel Gafford was named to the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy Men’s Player of the Year watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.

Gafford is one of 50 players to make the Naismith Trophy watch list. That group will be pared down to 30 players on Feb. 13, 2019, then 10 national semifinalists on March 4, 2019 and finally four finalists on March 19, 2019. The 2019 Naismith Trophy will be awarded on at the Naismith Awards Brunch on April 7, 2019 during the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Daniel Gafford is one of nine players from the SEC to make the list. The others are:

  • Darius Garland (Vanderbilt)
  • Keldon Johnson (Kentucky)
  • Admiral Scofield (Tennessee)
  • Chris Silva (South Carolina)
  • Reid Travis (Kentucky)
  • P.J. Washington (Kentucky)
  • Tremont Waters (LSU)
  • Grant Williams (Tennessee)

After an SEC All-Freshman team freshman year, Gafford has a chance to win the first Naismith Trophy in Razorback history. (Nolan Richardson won the Naismith Coach of the Year award in 1994.)

He averaged 11.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots overall while averaging 12.7 points and 6.2 boards in SEC play. Gafford ranked 22nd nationally and second in the SEC with 76 blocked shots. This past summer, Gafford joined 24 elite collegiate players that were invited to the Nike Basketball Academy, an annual developmental camp to learn and train with current and past NBA superstars through a series of off-court workouts, 5-on-5 competition, drills and competition.

Gafford and hot-shooting Isaiah Joe will lead Arkansas as it opens the season this Friday (Nov. 9) at the ESPN Armed Forces Classic. The game will be played on Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas and telecast on ESPN and tip-off is set for 6 pm (CT).

On November 18, the Hogs play Indiana, which feature Naismith Trophy candidates Romen Langford and Juwan Morgan.

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