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.
Macon, Barford enter draft
Option to return to UA remains
Arkansas guards Jaylen Barford (0) and Daryl Macon (4) interact during preseason media day on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford announced Friday that they're entering their names into the NBA Draft but not hiring an agent.
By not hiring an agent, Macon and Barford have the option of returning to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville for their senior seasons.
Macon and Barford, both 6-3 guards, have until May 24 -- 10 days after the NBA scouting combine -- to withdraw their names from the draft.
An NCAA rule passed last year allows players with eligibility remaining to enter the draft, get evaluations from pro personnel and go through workouts -- including taking part in the scouting combine May 9-14 in Chicago if they're among the invitees -- and withdraw their names as long as they haven't signed with an agent.
Last year, Arkansas center Moses Kingsley declared for the draft but didn't sign with an agent. He withdrew his name from the draft after not being invited to the combine, but he did have a workout with the Boston Celtics.
"The new rule for the NBA Draft provides a great opportunity for these guys to work out with NBA teams and get the necessary feedback to make an informed decision," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said in a statement. "Daryl and Jaylen had productive years for us and we will support them every step of the way through this process."
No draft website projects Macon or Barford among the 60 players taken in the draft's two rounds. The draft is June 22.
Playing overseas is another option for Macon and Barford, as well as competing for roster spots in the NBA Developmental League, if they decide not to return to Arkansas.
"My ultimate goal is to play at the next level and this is an opportunity to see where I stand and get feedback from NBA teams," Macon said in a UA statement.
"My dream has always been to play in the NBA and this gives me the chance to go through the process and be evaluated by teams," Barford said in a statement.
Macon and Barford, both junior college All-Americans before transferring to Arkansas, helped the Razorbacks go 26-10 this season -- including 12-6 in the SEC to tie South Carolina for third behind Kentucky and Florida -- and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion North Carolina 72-65 in Greenville, S.C.
Macon, who played at Little Rock Parkview and Holmes (Miss.) Community College, averaged 13.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 25.2 minutes. He shot 45.3 percent from the field (141 of 311), including 38.7 percent on three-pointers, and 86.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Macon scored a season-high 30 points in Arkansas' 98-80 victory over Ole Miss, and he hit three free throws in the final 1.6 seconds to lift the Razorbacks at Vanderbilt to a 71-70 victory. He scored a team-high 19 points against North Carolina.
Barford, from Jackson, Tenn., averaged 12.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 25.4 minutes this season and shot 43.8 percent from the field (174 of 397), including 26.6 percent on three-pointers (29 of 109), and 75.2 percent from the free-throw line (82 of 109).
Barford scored a career-high 23 points twice -- at Missouri and at South Carolina -- and had 20 points in the Razorbacks' 77-71 victory over Seton Hall in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He signed with Arkansas last year after averaging 26.2 points as a sophomore at Motlow (Tenn.) Community College to lead all junior college scorers.
If Macon and Barford don't return to Arkansas for their senior seasons, the Razorbacks will have three scholarships available for the spring signing period and just one of their top six scorers back -- junior guard Anton Beard at 7.2 points per game. Kingsley and senior guards Dusty Hannahs and Manny Watkins have exhausted their eligibility.
Arkansas' November signees are 6-11 center Daniel Gafford from El Dorado, 6-6 forward Darious Hall from Mills and 6-5 guard Khalil Garland from Little Rock Parkview. All three were first-teamers on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's All-Arkansas Preps team.
Sports on 04/15/2017
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