Darious Hall, C.J. Jones transferring from Arkansas

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Arkansas forward Darious Hall claps after dunking the ball during an NCAA Tournament game against Butler on Friday, March 16, 2018, in Detroit.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas forward Darious Hall claps after dunking the ball during an NCAA Tournament game against Butler on Friday, March 16, 2018, in Detroit.

— Freshman Darious Hall and sophomore C.J. Jones have been granted their release from the Arkansas basketball program, Mike Anderson announced Wednesday.

The moves had been speculated since the Razorbacks ended their season with a 79-62 loss to Butler in the NCAA Tournament. No reason was given for their departures, nor were their destinations known.

No restrictions were put on either player's transfer, a university official confirmed.

“I appreciate them coming to the University of Arkansas and wish them the best moving forward," Anderson said in a statement.

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Hall’s departure is the biggest loss for Anderson. The Little Rock native showed potential defensively throughout his freshman season and improved on the offensive end as the year progressed. He was expected to be a rising star on a 2018-19 roster littered with youth.

"It's something that I prayed about for a long time and just feel like it's better for me to move on to a different situation," Hall told WholeHogSports when reached by phone Wednesday. "It's not about playing time; it's just something I feel I need to do.

"I've got nothing but love for Arkansas."

Hall was the No. 4 prospect in Arkansas in the 2017 recruiting class, leading Little Rock Mills to a 31-2 record and class 5A state championship as a senior. On the AAU circuit, Hall was a member of Memphis-based Team Magic Elite. He also played in the Nike EYBL Peach Jam event for Penny Hardaway’s Team Penny.

Hardaway was named head coach at Memphis on March 20, leading to speculation that Hall might transfer there.

"I really don't have any idea where I might end up," Hall said. "That process is what will happen now."

Hall played in all 35 games this season, starting five, and averaged 5.1 points on 50 percent from the floor and an efficient 41 percent from 3-point range on 32 attempts.

Hall averaged 3.1 rebounds per game and finished fourth on the team in offensive rebounds with 32 behind Daniel Gafford, Trey Thompson and Jaylen Barford, respectively.

The freshman scored a season-high 14 points twice, once against Cal State Bakersfield and again in SEC play at Ole Miss as he recorded his first career double-double with 11 rebounds. Hall also added 13 points on 6 of 6 shooting and seven rebounds in a loss at Texas A&M.

Offensively, Hall was best at the rim in in the halfcourt, where he derived 29 percent of his positive scoring value. On the other end, Arkansas’ defense turned opponents over at a 19.3 percent rate with Hall on the floor and held teams to 46.3 percent on 2-point looks.

Hall played 519 minutes this season, ninth most among freshman scholarships players in Mike Anderson’s tenure at Arkansas and most by a Razorbacks freshman since the 2015-16 season when Jimmy Whitt, who later transferred to SMU, played 550.

This season marked the first time since Anderson’s first season at Arkansas that two freshmen (Hall and Gafford) played more than 500 minutes.

Following the Razorbacks' NCAA Tournament loss on March 16, Hall indicated he would return for his sophomore season, saying in part, "all of us are coming back....We can make a run in the tournament next year."

Jones, whose relationship with Anderson began when Anderson was head coach at Alabama-Birmingham, exits after two seasons with the Razorbacks. Jones averaged six minutes per game as a freshman and saw his minutes increase to nearly 15 per game in 2017-18.

Jones also played 519 minutes this season, which tied for sixth on the team behind Daryl Macon, Barford, Anton Beard, Gafford and Thompson.

"I just felt like it was a better decision for me and my family," Jones said in a message to WholeHogSports. "I thought over it hard and prayed about it."

This season, Jones finished with 10-plus points seven times in nonconference play, and was one of five Razorbacks scoring in double fugures as conference play began. He reached that total just three times in Southeastern Conference play. Arkansas was 3-0 in those games.

But Jones struggled from 3-point range in league games, shooting just 29.5 percent on 44 attempts.

Jones went 0 of 8 from 3 in Arkansas’ first five SEC games before connecting on a pair in a late January loss at Florida. They were his first 3s in SEC play in more than a calendar year. For the season, Jones averaged 6.3 points per game.

The departures leave Arkansas with 11 scholarship players for the 2018-19 season, two below the NCAA limit. The Razorbacks are replacing six scholarship seniors with six new freshmen, and sophomore guard Jalen Harris will be eligible after redshirting following a transfer from New Mexico.

Hall and Jones are part of what is expected to be another high number of transfers in college basketball this off-season. There were 885 transfers nationwide last year, according to VerbalCommits.com, a figure that has steadily grown each year.

Since Anderson arrived at Arkansas in 2011, 13 scholarship players have transferred out - including five signed by previous coach John Pelphrey - and seven scholarship players have transferred in from other Division I programs.

Richard Davenport in Little Rock and Dudley E. Dawson, Bob Holt and Matt Jones in Fayetteville contributed

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