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Report: Daniel Gafford returning to Arkansas for sophomore season

Butler v Arkansas

DETROIT, MI - MARCH 16: Nate Fowler #51 of the Butler Bulldogs shoves Daniel Gafford #10 of the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half of the game in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on March 16, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Arkansas may already have its first win of the 2018-19 season.

Forward Daniel Gafford, a projected first-round NBA draft pick, is expected to return to school for his sophomore season rather than turn pro, according to a report from Scout’s Evan Daniels.

The 6-foot-11 Arkansas native averaged 11.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game during his rookie campaign in Fayetteville. He shot 60.5 percent from the field.

His return his a major boon for coach Mike Anderson as it was widely expected that Gafford would be spending just one year in school before bouncing to the NBA. This June’s draft, however, looks to be especially strong in big men with Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Michael Porter, Jr. leading the way. Next year could potentially be a weaker crop of bigs, which could move Gafford up draft boards dramatically should he have a strong sophomore season.

The Razorbacks went 23-12 last season and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Butler.