As an Arkansas basketball commit, El Dorado junior Daniel Gafford (6-11, 217) knows that each part of his game is going to be dissected by Razorback fans.
So even when goes out and has a 20-point, 20-rebound game as he did during the high school season, he knows getting better every day still has to be his goal.
“I need to improve on some stuff like getting bigger, getting physical in the paint and getting lower and then I need to work on my jump shot and free throws,” Gafford said.
Gafford, who chose Arkansas over Kansas, Florida, Vanderbilt and others and is a top 40 prospect nationally per Scout.com, is coming off a weekend in which he helped the Arkansas Wings 17-and-under team win the Real Deal In The Rock.
He and the rest of the Wings will be on display this weekend in Bentonville beginning with a Friday night 8:30 p.m. game against the Memphis Magic in The Warmup AAU event.
That means that Gafford, 7-3, 220-pound sophomore Connor Vanover and 6-4 Exavion Christon – the Real Deal MVP - will be up against fellow 2017 Razorback signee Darious Hall (6-6, 210) of Little Rock Mills.
The Wings will also play Saturday morning at 11:20 a.m. at Next Level In Springdale.
“I think Daniel is going to be one of the best college players in the country,” Hall said. “He is a big guy, but runs like a guard and is just going to keep getting better.”
Gafford, who averaged 14 points, 14 rebounds and 5.4 blocks while shooting 73 percent from the field as a junior, notes his high motor is from not wanting to sit around as a youngster.
“I think that came from being little and running around all the time,” Gafford said. “I was never still when I was young. When I was a kid I didn’t want to play a (video) game, I just wanted to go outside all the time and run around.”
Gafford started last spring as a 6-8, 200-pounder, but will begin this spring as a 6-11, 217-pound one looking to add more weight.
“My coach said I need at least a good 25 pounds but I think I need to get a little bit more than that,” Gafford said.
“…The way I found out I was 6-11 was because we have 6-11 doors in our house and I’m walking through my house and hitting my head on every door.”
Arkansas assistant Melvin Watkins stays in constant contact with Gafford and he also hears from Razorback head coach Mike Anderson and
“I pretty much talk to Coach Watkins everyday, Coach Anderson talks to me every now and then and I get a text from Coach Cleveland every now and then.
Watkins has showed the young man how much he cares about him.
“He sends me motivational quotes and makes sure my head up,” Gafford said. “He’ll keep in touch with me. I had to get my wisdom tooth out and he made sure I was ok. “
Gafford notes that he is a lock for Arkansas and schools know that and are no longer contacting him anymore.
“I don’t know, I don’t they like me anymore,” Gafford said smiling. I’m not going to say that, but I haven’t heard from nobody.”
He is sure that Arkansas is the right choice for him.
“It’s close to home I want to stay close so I can get back and forth to my family,” Gafford said. “Fayetteville is only a six-hour drive. I just want to make sure I can get back and forth to them and make sure they’re ok.”