The roster is set. Daryl Macon announced minutes following Jaylen Barford made the same announcement, that he was also returning for his senior season at Arkansas.
Macon’s decision was more uncertain. There had been rumblings for a long time that Macon was unlikely to return for his senior season, and some media members were even public in insinuating that they didn’t expect him back. But Macon will be back in Fayetteville after all.
Macon was a great player for the Razorbacks last fall. He came off the bench for the final 13 games, but still averaged 13.4 points per game - second on the team - and reached a season high of 30 points in the game against Ole Miss in February. He was also the best player on the floor for the Hogs in the NCAA Tournament game against North Carolina, where he scored 19 points. Perhaps just as memorable is Macon’s ability to knock down free throw after free throw to close out games. He converted 86.6% of his freebies, and even made three out of three in the last second to beat Vanderbilt.
With Dusty Hannahs graduated, Macon will likely be back in the starting lineup with Barford. The duo will highlight a deep senior class of six players: Macon, Barford, Anton Beard, Arlando Cook, Trey Thompson, and Dustin Thomas. Arkansas is also adding its first batch of the upcoming (what I’ve termed) Era of the Natives. Arkansas has stocked it’s next few recruiting classes with quality prospects from the Natural State, and next year’s team will include Daniel Gafford, Khalil Garland, and Darious Hall.
All are considered quality prospects, and Gafford is considered a top 40 prospect at center. That’s important because the biggest question mark going into next season for the Hogs is the frontcourt. Macon and Barford will ease any concerns about guard play, but the Razorbacks will need more production to replace what they lose without Moses Kingsley in the paint. If they can find something there, Macon and Barford could carry next year’s team a long way.