Razorbacks in Exclusive Territory With NBA Conference Finals Looming

Arkansas' basketball program represented well as playoffs roll on
Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) reacts after blocking an Oklahoma City Thunder shot attempt during second round of NBA Playoffs. Gafford's team will meet the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday evening in Game One of the Western Conference Finals.
Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) reacts after blocking an Oklahoma City Thunder shot attempt during second round of NBA Playoffs. Gafford's team will meet the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday evening in Game One of the Western Conference Finals. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Success in college basketball has paid off for the Razorbacks in recent years as the program continues to improve its standing in the NBA.

For many years, the Arkansas brand was represented by the likes of Joe Johnson and Ronnie Brewer throughout the 2000's and 2010's. The recent uptick in winning for the traditional basketball school is turning eyes around the league. Two former Hogs will represent the school during the conference finals.

Daniel Gafford, who played for the Razorbacks under Mike Anderson from 2017-19, currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks. Gafford's team will meet the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday evening in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

He was traded midseason by the lowly Washington Wizards and has bolstered the Mavs front court. Since his arrival in Dallas, Gafford played in 29 games with 21 starts and has averaged 11 points, seven boards, two assists and two blocks per game. He's been a force on the offensive end connecting on 78% of his field goal attempts at 22 minutes per game.

Former 5-star McDonald's All-American Jordan Walsh will play in the Eastern Conference Finals for Boston. The Celtics will play this Tuesday night against the red hot Indiana Pacers who make their first conference finals appearance since 2014. Walsh is a rookie and was drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 38 pick of the second round.

He was in and out of the G-Leauge for much of the seaon playing with Boston's Maine affiliate. Through nine regular season games, Walsh recorded nearly two points and two rebounds per game. He shot the ball well when given the opportunity, knocking down 40% of his field goal attempts.

The Razorbacks are one of seven schools to have at least two players in the conference finals this season. Duke leads the way with four, Kentucky has three, and Iowa State, Arizona, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Arkansas each have two.

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Jacob Davis

JACOB DAVIS