Arkansas won’t have a basketball game until November 9th when they play Texas at Fort Bliss. When they do, the roster will look completely different, especially the starting lineup. Arkansas is losing three of their top four scorers to graduation and may very well lose the fourth to the NBA Draft.
With several mock drafts putting Daniel Gafford in the late lottery range, the rest of this piece will go on under the assumption that he is going to go pro. With the 2018 class including names like R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Bol Bol, and others, the 10-15 range is probably his ceiling, meaning a second year in college likely won’t raise his stock much more. Having Gafford would be a big boost for the team next year, but with the college basketball landscape looking like it does, it’s not the most likely scenario. We can hope, but not expect Gafford coming back.
- C.J. Jones 6’5” 175 lbs.
- Darious Hall 6’6” 210 lbs.
- Adrio Bailey 6’7” 217 lbs.
- Gabe Osabuohien 6’8” 219 lbs.
- Jonathan Holmes 5’10” 190 lbs.
That’s not a long list, and not a lot of scoring. That’s just over 17 points per game eight rebounds. Jones and Hall had the most promising moments this past season and will be the two that are going to be looked at as leaders next year.
- Jalen Harris (Transfer from New Mexico) 6’2” 164 lbs.
- Khalil Garland (Redshirted) 6’5” 198 lbs.
- Ethan Henderson (4-star, #99 by 247 Sports) 6’8” 185 lbs.
- Keyshawn Embery (4-star, #119 by 247 Sports) 6’3” 175 lbs.
- Reggie Chaney (3-star, #140 by 247 Sports) 6’7” 215 lbs.
- Isaiah Joe (3-star, #154 by 247 Sports) 6’2” 160 lbs.
- Jordan Phillips (3-star, #167 by 247 Sports) 6’5” 175 lbs.
- Desi Sills (3-star, #241 by 247 Sports) 6’2” 180 lbs.
That’s eight newcomers if Garland hopefully, returns and his healthy. For reference, he was ranked 196th in his class. Hall and Osabuohien were both lower than everyone in this upcoming class. The class doesn’t have star power, but it does have scoring. Keyshawn Embery and Reggie Cheney could fill it up in high school. Isaiah Joe won the Gatorade Player of the Year award for the state of Arkansas averaging over 23 points per game.
What Does the Depth Chart Look Like?
Here’s a guess purely based on speculation.
- Isaiah Joe
- Jalen Harris
- Desi Sills
- C.J. Jones
- Keyshawn Embery
- Jordan Phillips
- Jonathan Holmes
- Darious Hall
- Khalil Garland
- Adrio Bailey
- Gabe Osabuohien
- Ethan Henderson
- Reggie Cheney
So two things stand out, first is the lack of a true center. Henderson and Cheney don’t have that height and length that Gafford or Moses Kingsley had. While Henderson and Cheney might not be guys who have played the five spot much, there aren’t many other options on this team, so defensively the guards will have to step up more. And that is one positive that this team has, a lot of length at the guard spots. Playing Daryl Macon, Jaylen Barford, and Anton Beard was a force offensively, but struggled to stay in front of quicker guards. This team should be able to regularly throw 6’3”-6’6” players at guards that has been what Mike Anderson ideally wants to do.
Offensively, there could still be some struggles. It will depend on how quickly guys like Joe, Henderson, and Cheney hit the ground running. Precedent suggests Arkansas could have a hard time scoring, and with the SEC improving as a basketball conference, the expectations for next season should be limited, but there is a ton of potential for growth in this team.