#41 Arkansas Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #6 SEC
Arkansas Logo
Arkansas got back to the NCAA Tournament with a 26-win season, 12 of which came in SEC play. The Razorbacks failed to notch a marquee win during the regular season, but still earned an 8-seed and won an NCAA Tournament game. Arkansas battled with North Carolina, the eventual national champions, in the second round but came up short. The Razorbacks had four double-digit scorers last season, two of which will return this year. Arkansas only loses three total contributors from last season while adding a top-40 recruit. Head coach Mike Anderson will be expected to get his team back to the NCAA Tournament.
2016-17 Record: 26-10, 12-6
2016-17 Postseason:
NCAA Tournament
Mike Anderson
Coach Record:
128-74 at Arkansas, 328-172 overall
Who’s Out:
Arkansas is only without three players from last season, but two of them were double-digit scorers. Moses Kingsley might be the biggest loss after he made All-SEC second team last year. Kingsley was named the SEC Preseason Player of the Year, and even though he didn’t live up to that, he still had a fantastic season. Kingsley averaged 12.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game and was also a member of the SEC All-Defensive Team. Dusty Hannahs led the team in scoring as a senior with 14.4 points per game. Hannahs shot 38.7% from three and 90.8% from the free-throw line, which was a top-ten mark in the nation. Manuale Watkins is the final departure after starting 23 games as a senior. Watkins averaged 6.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and a team-high 1.3 steals per game. Watkins had just 20 turnovers in 802 minutes last season. These three guys were all senior leaders last year and their departures will be felt this season.
Who’s In:
The Razorbacks will welcome four freshmen to the roster this season. Daniel Gafford is the top recruit of the class as a four-star, top-40 national prospect. Gafford is a 6-9 forward who was ranked as the top player in Arkansas behind 17.4 points, 16.0 rebounds, 7.7 blocks and 2.5 steals as a senior. The other three recruits are all three-star prospects, but each was ranked in the top five players in Arkansas. Khalil Garland is a 6-6 guard and was ranked second in the state. Darious Hall and Gabe Osabuohien are small forwards and were the fourth and fifth ranked players in Arkansas, respectively. All four freshmen should see instant roles for the Razorbacks.
Who to Watch:
Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford impressed in their first seasons at Arkansas as junior college transfers. Macon averaged 13.4 points and shot 38.7% from behind the arc. Macon was efficient as well, hitting 45.3% of his field goals. He will need to do more of that this season as the top returning scorer. Barford was third on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game. Barford was not quite as efficient from the field, but he did reach 20 points five times, including a 20-point performance in the NCAA Tournament. Anton Beard is back after starting 11 games as a junior and averaging 7.2 points and 1.9 assists per game. Dustin Thomas started 27 games as a junior, averaging 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds. Arlando Cook and Trey Thompson will be experienced depth pieces this season. Last year, Cook averaged 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds, while Thompson tallied 2.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists. C.J. Jones and Adrio Bailey played limited roles as freshmen but should see more playing time this season.
Final Projection:
Arkansas has expectations to return to the NCAA Tournament behind their senior guards Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford. Both players averaged double-digit scoring in their first season playing in the NCAA, so their final years should be even more productive. Two players alone will not be enough to get to the postseason however, and the Razorbacks will need other role players to step up. Top-40 prospect Daniel Gafford will be expected to take on a big role immediately at Arkansas, while the other three incoming freshmen should also provide help. The SEC is much improved and Arkansas is losing three key senior leaders from last season, so getting back to the NCAA Tournament could be a challenge.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament
Projected Starting Five:
Daryl Macon, Senior, Guard, 13.4 points per game

Anton Beard, Senior, Guard, 7.2 points per game
Jaylen Barford, Senior, Guard, 12.8 points per game
Dustin Thomas, Senior, Forward, 5.3 points per game
Daniel Gafford, Freshman, Center, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.3 (44th in nation, 3rd in conference)

Scoring Defense: 73.9 (219, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.0 (86, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (70, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (257, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.5 (105, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.1 (23, 2)
Rebound Margin: -0.6 (222, 10)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (139, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (71, 2)
Madness 2017 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#36 Daniel Gafford
#139 Khalil Garland