Anderson: NBA draft a ‘possibility’ for Macon, Barford
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas coach Mike Anderson sounded less certain about the return of the Razorbacks top underclassmen on Monday night, saying there’s a “possibility” junior guards Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford could enter their names in the NBA draft.
The move would allow the duo to receive evaluations from NBA teams and return to the Razorbacks for their senior seasons, if they decided to withdraw from the draft and didn’t hire an agent.
The departures of Macon and Barford would be a significant blow to an Arkansas team that just reached the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, finishing 26-10 before losing as a No. 9 seed to eventual national champion North Carolina in the second round.
“We’re still talking with some of those guys,” Anderson said following the team’s season-ending banquet. “One of the things that’s available for these guys now is they can go and test the waters, sort of like Moses (Kingsley) did.”
Kingsley, the preseason Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, also entered his name in the NBA draft following last season before eventually deciding to return to Arkansas for his senior season.
Arkansas officials declined when asked to let players speak to the media following the banquet on Monday night, but Macon said “No comment,” last month when asked about his future following the NCAA Tournament loss to the Tar Heels.
Anderson said two weeks ago that he expected both Macon and Barford to return to school next season. He didn’t mention the possibility of either entering the draft without an agent at that time, but it’s a clear possibility now.
“We’re still kind of going back and forth on that,” Anderson said.
After finishing 16-16 the previous season, Anderson signed Macon and Barford out of the junior-college ranks. The duo quickly emerged as top contributors for the Razorbacks, who advanced to the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game before losing to Kentucky.
Macon was second on Arkansas in scoring with an average of 13.4 points per game, while Barford averaged 12.8 points.