Hog fans were thanking their lucky stars whan Daniel Gafford decided to comeback to Fayetteville for a second season. He’s going to be the leader and the most productive player in a group that, like the guards, will be a ton of new faces.
PF: Reggie Chaney
C: Daniel Gafford
If you’re trying read into Mike Anderson’s comments, it sounds like Chaney is more physically ready than Ethan Henderson, and while Osabuohien had a nice Red/White game, I would think his role is more about being a spark off the bench with hustle plays (unless he can all of a sudden drop 20 with regularity, then it’s a whole different discussion). At High School with Findlay Prep, Chaney started alongside Bol Bol, a defensive minded shot-blocking center not unlike Daniel Gafford. That experience should hopefully help those two create some chemistry right off the bat.
We know about Gafford’s athleticism and natural ability. This year he will be the biggest focus of opponent’s defenses, which will be a challenge for him. How much has he developed his offensive game this year? And How does he handle constant double teams this year? Those will be the two questions Gafford will have to answer this year. All the tools are there, and he should have an excellent season. But if he struggles to answer those two questions, it will be a long year.
Off The Bench
PF: Gabe Osabuohien
C: Ethan Henderson, Ibby Ali
It’s going to be interesting to see what Osabuohien is capable of this season. He led the team in charges taken and looks to be a capable rebounder. Can he be relied on offensively though? Not necessarily to lead an offense, but to get a few buckets a game and help the team avoid long offensive droughts. Arkansas’ success this year should likely be tied to his and Adrio Bailey’s scoring and overall impact this year. He’s going to need to average a lot more than 1.1 points per game.
Henderson has the athleticism, as he showed as the only challenger to Gafford in the pregame dunk contest last week. From what Anderson has said to the media, there still needs to be some refinement to his game. Expect his minutes to grow this season as Anderson sees him continue to develop throughout the year.
For Ali, growth is going to be the key for him. So far it looks like he has a long way to go in terms of development. Right now he’s the only true center behind Gafford so he might get some minutes out of necessity, but he’ll need to get better fast.
He played in DIII ball last year and is sitting out the season due to transfer rules.