Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Mike Anderson: Pro looks possible
Daryl Macon scored 16 points in Arkansas' 62-60 win at Texas A&M on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said after Monday night's team banquet he expects all of his underclassmen to return next season, but he didn't rule out the possibility of some declaring for the NBA Draft to get evaluations from pro personnel.
Under an NCAA rule adopted last year, players can declare for the draft but retain their college eligibility if they don't sign with an agent.
Players then can get a draft evaluation and see whether they are invited to the NBA scouting combine or to workouts with teams. After the process, they can keep their names in the draft or withdraw and return to college.
The most likely Razorbacks to explore their pro prospects are junior guards Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon.
Barford and Macon attended the banquet along with their teammates and will go through workouts that begin today, Anderson said.
"Right now, you can see with the guys being here, their intentions are to get ready for the next year," Anderson said. "But the possibility is there [to explore pro options], because it's something that's available and I wouldn't want to stop a guy if he wants to do that."
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville senior center Moses Kingley declared for the draft after last season, didn't sign with an agent, and withdrew from the draft and played for the Razorbacks this season. He wasn't invited to the combine but did work out for the Boston Celtics.
"Moses did it last year, and he got some good feedback, and I thought it made him a much better player," Anderson said. "If it happens, it's an opportunity for those guys [Barford and Macon] to really see where they are."
Anderson said he expects to hear something definitive from Barford and Macon "pretty soon" about next season because of spring recruiting.
The Razorbacks are losing three seniors -- Kingsley and guards Dusty Hannahs and Manny Watkins -- from this season's 26-10 team that lost to eventual national champion North Carolina 72-65 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"I think right now there's a lot of optimism going around," Anderson said. "Guys are feeling good about themselves and their team.
"The players that are leaving, I think they're leaving the team in good hands."
Anderson, who was an Arkansas assistant coach in 1994 when the Razorbacks won the national championship, told the banquet crowd he expects to lead another title team.
"I keep saying it, and people keep looking at me like I'm crazy," Anderson said. "We're getting ready to win a national championship. I hope you all know that."
Sports on 04/11/2017
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