Thoughts on Daniel Gafford and Romeo Langford in the Arkansas-Indiana Game

November 18, 2018

by Alan Lu

Today, I took the time to watch Daniel Gafford and Arkansas take on Romeo Langford and Indiana in the Hardwood Showcase.  While Romeo Langford put forth a fairly good performance and helped keep his team in the game all the way until the end, Daniel Gafford had a terrific showing as he carried the team upon his back to lead them to get the victory over Indiana.  Here are my thoughts on how Gafford and Langford fared in this game, as well as how their games may project into the NBA.

Arkansas’ 6-11 sophomore center, Daniel Gafford had a dominant performance in his team’s win over Indiana.  He played well in virtually every facet of the game, and he provided strong scoring, rebounding, and defensive skills when he was on the court.  Gafford did a great job of getting scores in the low post.  He has a magnificent shooting touch and adequate footwork on the block, as he can use either hand to score on jump hooks, and he can use pivots and spin moves to score on turnaround jumpers.  Plus, he was able to catch high passes over smaller defenders, as he was able to score on a powerful dunk around the basket on the block once.

He also showed a good ability to score off the dribble in this game.  Gafford caught a tough high pass thrown out to him, and he drove aggressively to the rim to his right to score on a smooth, double-pump layup off the glass.  Plus, he also managed to knock down a quick, baseline mid-range jumper after catching and turning to face the basket.  Plus, he also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Gafford runs the floor well, and he was able to score on a thunderous two-handed dunk on the break after getting the ball as a trailer in transition.  He also scored on a powerful one-handed jam after being left open underneath the hoop, and he also ran in to score on a strong tip slam another time.  Also, Gafford was able to score in traffic after getting the ball on a roll to the rim.  But while he drew plenty of free throws, he will still need to work on making them at the charity stripe, as he made only three out of his eight free throw attempts when he was at the foul line.

However, he will still need to improve his playmaking skills.  For the positives, Gafford would look to find the open man, and sometimes he would swing the ball to make a sound extra pass to display poise, patience, and good court vision, but he also ended up committing his fair share of turnovers.  Gafford committed a couple of traveling violations on some of his low post moves, as he ended up shuffling his feet on those occasions.  He rolled to get the ball in the post another time, but was quickly doubled, and he ended up throwing an inaccurate bounce pass out of bounds on a separate possession.  Gafford also showed a great ability to rebound the basketball.  He would frequently collect boards on both ends of the floor, and he also had a knack for getting tough rebounds in traffic.  On one occasion, he even tipped a ball off of an opponent to help his team retain possession of the basketball.

Also, he played good defense in this game.  Gafford did an excellent job of rotating on drives and cuts to block shots, and he would usually swat them to his teammates or himself to help his team get the ball.  He also is a rangy defender that will run in to get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections, and he also managed to poke a ball off of an opponent to force the turnover.  Gafford showed a knack for contesting and altering shots inside the paint to force misses, and he also managed to draw a charge when defending in the post another time, but sometimes he can be a bit undisciplined defensively, which can lead his team to allow scores.  Gafford may tend to go for steals too often, and his tendency to reach-in can lead him to be out of position, causing him to trail his man too often and to get beat on moves to the hoop.  He also can tend to hedge out too far on opposing ball handlers when defending screens, and he can tend to be a bit out of position at times.

In general, Daniel Gafford played very well to help lead his team to a win over Indiana.  He is an athletic big man that can make energetic plays on both ends of the floor, and he showed off strong low post scoring, rebounding, and defensive skills, and he has shown improvements on both ends of the floor.  Gafford scored 27 points on 12 of 15 shooting, and had 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals in this game.   Right now, he could be a solid candidate to go in the top 10 of the 2019 draft, as he could end up being a solid starter in the NBA.

Indiana’s 6-6 freshman guard, Romeo Langford had a fairly good showing in his team’s loss to Arkansas.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, made some solid passes when he was on the floor, and he did a great job of rebounding the basketball in this game.  Langford showed off an adequate ability to knock down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He can make spot-up threes off the catch, and he has a fairly quick release that enables him to get his shot off.  Plus, he also will use crossover moves to knock down pull-up, long two-point shots from just inside the arc.  But sometimes he can be prone to hoisting up questionable shots, as he may jack up contested jumpers from very far out, and he also missed on a contested pull-up, mid-range runner as his shot selection can be suspect.

He also did an adequate job of scoring on drives to the basket.  Langford may not have an elite first step to the hoop, but he is a crafty scorer that will patiently maneuver around to draw hoards of free throws for his team.  He can use either hand to get to the rim though he tends to favor using his left hand, and he also will take advantage when he gets a favorable switch when handling the basketball.  He also has an assortment of moves that can enable him to get to the foul line, but sometimes he may be prone to missing shots in traffic when he doesn’t get those calls.  Plus, he showed a good ability to score on hustle plays.  On one play, Langford was able to run in to score on a put back, while getting an extra free throw.  But another time, he missed on a tip-in in traffic, as sometimes he can tend to force the issue too much on offense at times.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Langford can handle the basketball, as he would always bring the ball up after getting defensive boards, and he also is an unselfish player that can kick it out to shooters off the dribble to set up numerous scoring chances for his teammates.  He also threw a lob pass to set up a score on the break, but he also can be turnover prone as well.  In this game, he tended to throw lazy passes out on the perimeter that ended up getting intercepted.  Plus, he also held the ball too long after initially finding himself open in the corner when receiving the basketball, as an opponent was able to swipe the ball to knock it off of Langford before it trickled out of bounds, causing Indiana to lose possession of the basketball.

Langford also showed a great ability to rebound the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, as he would often to leap up to get rebounds to help his team.  Plus, he also exhibited decent defensive skills.  Langford did a good job of playing help defense, as he would actively play passing lanes to get steals and deflections on the court.  He also managed to block a three-point shot that was well beyond the arc, and he would tend to contest jumpers to force misses.

However, he tended to struggle more when defending drives to the hoop and he also can be undisciplined on this end of the floor.  Langford does not possess elite lateral quickness, and he can struggle to stay with quicker players on the floor.  He ended up committing a couple of fouls on drives, and on one occasion he bit wildly on a pump fake before fouling an opponent off the dribble.  Another time, he got beat off the dribble, which allowed the opponent to kick it out to a shooter that set up a three to a teammate in transition. 

Other times, Langford would not hustle or run back on defense after he or a teammate commits turnovers, which would cause his team to allow fast break scores.  Another time, he went the wrong direction when defending his man, and ended up getting beat on a cut on a misdirection play to allow the score.  Overall, Romeo Langford had a good game as he showed off a variety of skills on both ends of the court.  He is a score-first combo guard that can run the point, and he also can be a solid defender when he commits himself to do so.  But sometimes, his focus can waver, which lead him to throwing weak passes and he may not always give great effort defensively.  But still, he is a skilled, crafty player that can help his team in many different ways, and he could be a potential lottery pick on draft day.

Other Notes:

Indiana’s 6-8 senior forward Juwan Morgan had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Arkansas.  He excelled as a spot-up shooter from beyond the arc, and he also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays, as he excelled at doing so off of offensive rebounds.  Plus, he generally passed the ball well, as he will look to find the open man, and he can also hit the cutter.  Also, Morgan did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  While he struggled defensively overall, Morgan would contest spot-up jumpers to force some misses.  However, he also ended up committing a couple of traveling violations, and he struggled defensively.  Morgan was overmatched when defending Gafford, as his lack of size, lateral quickness, or instincts made it tough for him to defend in the post or in the paint, which would cause Morgan to commit fouls and allow scores.

Right now, while Morgan put forth a fairly good performance in his team’s loss to Arkansas, it’s uncertain if his skills would translate well to the NBA.  He was a defensive liability in this game, and he did not show much of terms of shot creation skills on offense.  It was clear that Morgan was ill-suited to guarding Gafford in this contest, but he was assigned to do so when he was on the floor.  Morgan will need to significantly improve his defense and shot creation ability, but his ability to make threes could allow him to make an NBA summer league roster this year.