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Daniel Gafford named to Naismith Trophy watch list

Daniel Gafford vs. Fresno State (KATV photo)

University of Arkansas sophomore Daniel Gafford was named to the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy Men’s Player of the Year watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.

Gafford, also a candidate for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, is one of 50 players to make the Naismith Trophy watch list. A “Midseason 30” team will be released on Feb. 13, 2019, followed by the 10 national semifinalists and four finalists on March 4, 2019 and March 19, 2019 respectively. The 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy will be awarded on at the Naismith Awards Brunch on April 7, 2019, during the Final Four in Minneapolis.

“This time of year is filled with excitement, optimism and anticipation as each team is undefeated and the race for the Citizen Naismith Trophy is wide open. These 50 candidates are ones to keep an eye on, but there will be plenty of others who will enter the competition throughout the season,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “It’s great to have the season tipping off tomorrow.”

Gafford is one of nine players from the SEC to make the list, joining Darius Garland (Vanderbilt), Keldon Johnson (Kentucky), Admiral Scofield (Tennessee), Chris Silva (South Carolina), Reid Travis (Kentucky), P.J. Washington (Kentucky), Tremont Waters (LSU) and Grant Williams (Tennessee). Also making the list are Razorback Nov. 18 opponents Romen Langford and Juwan Morgan, both of Indiana.

Gafford was named to the SEC All-Freshman team last season. He averaged 11.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots overall while averaging 12.7 points and 6.2 boards in league play. Gafford ranked 22nd nationally and second in the SEC with 76 blocked shots. This past summer, Gafford joined 24 highly-touted collegiate players that were invited to the Nike Basketball Academy, an annual developmental camp to learn and train with current and past NBA superstars through a series of off-court workouts, drills, film sessions and 5-on-5 competition.

Arkansas will open the 2018-19 season this Friday (Nov. 9) at the ESPN Armed Forces Classic. The game will be played on Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas. The game will be telecast on ESPN and tip-off is set for 6 pm (CT).

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