Gafford, Portis spoke about decision to return

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018
Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford looks to go around Butler forward Tyler Wideman during a NCAA Tournament game Friday, March 16, 2018, in Detroit.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford looks to go around Butler forward Tyler Wideman during a NCAA Tournament game Friday, March 16, 2018, in Detroit.

— Bobby Portis, who left Arkansas for the NBA after his sophomore season and was a first-round draft pick, said he talked to Daniel Gafford about his decision to return to the Razorbacks for his sophomore season.

“He talked to me a little bit, but I was trying to stay out of it on whether he wanted to leave or stay and things like that,” Portis said. “I want people to make their own decision.

“Ultimately, you have to live with it. I didn’t want anybody coming back one day and things didn’t go the right way and they want to blame somebody else. I like people to make their own decisions for themselves.”

Gafford is one of three returning players for the Razorbacks next season, along with forwards Adrio Bailey and Gabe Osabuohien.

Arkansas could have as many as 10 newcomers if guard Khalil Garland is medically cleared to play.

“It’s very big for the program as a whole,” Portis said of Gafford returning. “With so many new guys, [Gafford] will be one of our most experienced players. He’s been through it, been to the NCAA Tournament, so he can lead those guys in the right direction.”

Most NBA Draft websites listed Gafford as a probable first-round pick before he announced he’d be returning to Arkansas.

“He has a tremendous upside,” Portis said. “He can run with the best of them, jump with the best of them.”

Former Razorback Todd Day said playing another season at Arkansas will help Gafford expand his game offensively.

“Right now, he’s just a great athlete and great defensively,” Day said. “But to go to the next level and be effective, you’ve got to have some offensive skills around the 15-foot area. So that’s what’s he needs to work on this summer.”

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