LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford couldn't hold back the tears as the El Dorado native was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the 2nd round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
"It was nothing but joy. I felt it go all the way through my body man. I couldn't hold it in I had to let it go because I came a long way with this, this basketball thing," Gafford explained. "There's been ups and downs. Its been all kind of stuff going on when it comes to basketball and to finally hear my name called on that screen, it was just a whole different feeling.
"This means a lot and I'm pretty sure the city of El Dorado is going crazy right now because they finally got to see my name called. They finally got to see somebody finally make it out. Just being one of the first guys to actually do something like this with basketball down there, I mean I'm honored. I'm grateful for it."
The NEWEST member of the Chicago Bulls! pic.twitter.com/iTpGwSItWB— Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) June 21, 2019
The Razorbacks star was the leading scorer for the hogs in Fayetteville, but his defensive prowess and ability on the boards is what caught the front office's eye.
He picked up All-Defensive and first team honors in the SEC this past season and Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson described what he saw in the 20-year-old's game.
"He's a defensive rolling center. High energy, can run the floor, he's very athletic. His rebound numbers analytically, his shot blocking numbers were really high. Played in a really difficult conference and produced. So we think he can be, again, he's a young man that's going to have to earn his stripes, but we liked him as a basketball player."
(Gafford quotes courtesy KATV)