Sully Says: Gafford's big decision
On Monday, Arkansas State Athletics Director Terry Mohajir spoke to the Downtown Tip-Off Club.
Mohajir has a simple management strategy - three things he requires from all his athletic department employees, three things a coach may tell his five-year-old youth team: "Be a good teammate, be 'coachable' and give great effort."
Tuesday night, I was thinking that Razorback freshman sensation Daniel Gafford checks all three of Mohajir's boxes. That's not always the case with young college stars.
Watching Daniel last season at the Class 6A title game, I never imagined that he would get so good, so quickly. I saw a very raw, wiry, 6'11" center. My two biggest takeaways from that game: Daniel was a dunk-first center who ran the court way too well for a big man.
The fact that he has become a force inside in his freshman season is a testament to his "will do" attitude and a coaching staff that has had the "golden touch" developing big men who can run.
NBA scouts make decisions on a player's upside. Daniel Gafford is a 19-year-old with a high ceiling.
Most draft projections have Gafford being picked in the first round, anywhere from 15th to 25th.
NBA first round draft picks get two year guaranteed contracts. The money for the 15th pick would be around $3.4 million for two seasons; the 25th pick will receive in the neighborhood of $2.8 million.
When it comes to making the final decision, I hope "Team Gafford" will visit with someone who's taken the same path to success, someone like Bobby Portis. Bobby can fill Daniel in on what life is like for a young man in the NBA. He also has first-hand knowledge of the business side of the NBA. Bobby, like Daniel, became an NBA prospect much faster than we anticipated. They are both mom -first young men who will always be loyal to the Hogs and their hometowns.
The deadline for underclassman to declare for the draft is April 22nd.
A lot of basketball will be played between now and decision day.
Let's hope this is a March to remember for "Dunking" Daniel and the Hogs.