The Recruiting Guy:

Future Razorbacks go head-to-head in Conway

By: Richard Davenport Richard Davenport's Twitter account
Published: Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Darious Hall of Little Rock Mills dunks against Bentonville on Saturday Nov. 26, 2016 during the Bentonville Showcase basketball tournament in Bentonville's Tiger Arena.
( Ben Goff)
Darious Hall of Little Rock Mills dunks against Bentonville on Saturday Nov. 26, 2016 during the Bentonville Showcase basketball tournament in Bentonville's Tiger Arena.

CONWAY -- Two Arkansas men's basketball signees, forward Darious Hall of Mills and power forward Daniel Gafford of El Dorado, went head-to-head during the John Stanton Classic at Buzz Bolding Arena on Saturday.

Hall, 6-6, 210 pounds, led the Comets to a 77-64 victory over the Wildcats with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 blocked shot. Gafford, 6-11, 220, fought through foul trouble for much of the game and ended up with 11 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

"I wanted to win against him, but when we become teammates, I want both of us to have the same goal of beating everybody in our conference," Hall said.

He scored a bucket off of a nice dribble and drive in the lane against Gafford, who has 89 block shots in 10 games this season.

"I had to go to him to his chest because if I didn't go to his check, he would've been able to block the shot," Hall said. "I had to turn it up so my team could win."

Gafford, who is averaging 20.1 points, 19.4 rebounds, 8.9 block shots, 3.6 steals and 2.2 assists per game, picked up two quick early fouls.

"I had to play smarter because I didn't want to foul out and cause my team to lose because as I can see right now my team needs me," Gafford said.

He fouled out with 5:16 left in the game and the Wildcats trailing 61-60. Mills (8-1) went on to outscore El Dorado (9-1) 13-4 to close out the game. Gafford said he enjoyed competing against his future teammate.

"It was pretty special, even though they got the W," Gafford said. "I was expecting a different outcome instead of fouling out."

Hall, an ESPN 4-star prospect, averaged 12.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals as a junior. This season, he's averaging 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game for the Comets.

"I'm better at my pull-up [jumper]," Hall said. "I'm working on my threes. It's been off lately. I'm still working on that. That way I can open up the floor for the drives. So if they play me back, I can shoot the ball."

As a senior, Hall said he has taken on more of a leadership role.

"I had to step up as a senior and lead the team," he said. "I have to tell them when to calm down and when to slow down. I have to be the dominate one on the floor for the team."

ESPN rates Gafford as the No. 9 center and No. 47 overall prospect in the nation. During a 97-18 victory over De Queen on Dec. 2, Gafford received national attention with a monster one-hand dunk off of a bounce pass that produced more than 400 retweets and likes on Twitter.

A MaxPreps commentator said the dunk reminded him of what one might see from Los Angeles center DeAndre Jordan, who's considered one of the best dunkers in the NBA.

"It was going crazy," Gafford said. "It was retweet after retweet after retweet. It didn't faze me this much, but I liked watching it since it made it on MaxPreps. That's the first time I made it on to a sports network. It was special to me, but it got old real quick to me."

E-mail Richard Davenport at [email protected]

Sports on 12/20/2016

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.