ARKANSAS BASKETBALL:

Gafford, Garland hit court

By: Bob Holt
Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Khalil Garland of Little Rock Parkview dunks during the All-Metro Classic on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Little Rock.
Khalil Garland of Little Rock Parkview dunks during the All-Metro Classic on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Little Rock.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks freshman basketball players Daniel Gafford and Khalil Garland have been medically cleared and are participating in summer workouts with the team, Coach Mike Anderson said Monday.

"They're good to go," Arkansas said on the SEC basketball coaches' summer teleconference.

Gafford, a 6-11 center from El Dorado, sustained a knee injury several weeks ago, telling wholehogsports.com it was a slight meniscus tear.

"Daniel is doing fine," Anderson said "There are some things he has got to do to strengthen those muscles in his legs so he can get at a high level.

"He has been going through the workouts with no problem at all."

Garland, a 6-6 guard from Little Rock Parkview, had "some evaluation tests" according to Anderson, before being allowed to take part in the team workouts.

"We're just kind of building him up right now, but he's fine," Anderson said.

Anderson declined to say exactly what tests were done on Garland before he was medically cleared.

"I can't speak to the specifics of it," Anderson said. "That's some privacy stuff there."

Anderson said all of the Razorbacks' newcomers have more thorough tests than they've previously undergone.

"One of the things we make sure we do, we test these guys -- overly test them -- especially during the summer months," Anderson said. "As you can imagine with these guys coming into this level, they've never had the chance to really go through the strenuous activities that we put them through.

"We want to make sure that once they do come up here, they're ready to go through the various workouts.

"That's what it is with Khalil, just precaution. That's all."

Gafford averaged 17.4 points, 16.0 rebounds and 7.7 blocked shots as a senior at El Dorado.

"We think he's going to have a tremendous career here," Anderson said.

Gafford and Garland, who averaged 15.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists for Parkview as a senior, are among four in-state signees for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville along with Darious Hall, a 6-7 forward from Little Rock Mills, and Gabe Osabuohien, a 6-8 forward from Little Rock Southwest Christian Academy.

Hall averaged 15.2 points and 8.3 rebounds as a senior and Osabuochien averaged 11.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

Arkansas' class is ranked No. 21 nationally by ESPN.

Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said it's a plus Arkansas was able to sign so much in-state talent.

"I know they're an impressive group," Kennedy said. "Athletic, big. They come in looking the part of SEC players from day 1. It's certainly advantageous when you have good players in your state that want to be a part of the state university.

"Mike's got a very good core of returning veterans, which I'm sure are going to be able to help those young guys make the transition to SEC basketball."

Anderson is counting on the freshmen to blend in with a returning group that includes six seniors.

Arkansas will start next season without Moses Kingsley, Dusty Hannahs and Manny Watkins, three key components from last season's 26-10 team that played in the NCAA Tournament.

"Three seniors who contributed mightily," Anderson said. "So we've got to have somebody to fill those voids."

Sports on 06/27/2017

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