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SEC Player Skipping The NIT To Prepare For NBA Draft

A detail of the net and basket prior to the Georgetown Hoyas playing against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the quaterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Although the Arkansas Razorbacks didn't make the NCAA Tournament, they did receive an invite to the NIT. Unfortunately, the program will have to face Providence in the first round without its best player in Daniel Gafford.

We've seen players in college football skip their bowl game to avoid injury before entering the NFL Draft. Well, it's possible that Gafford is starting a trend for basketball prospects preparing for the NBA Draft.

Razorbacks coach Mike Anderson told reporters that his superstar forward will declare for the draft and miss the NIT. Considering that Gafford plans to sign with an agent, he'll forego his remaining years of eligibility.

Gafford averaged 16.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest for Arkansas. Current projections have him as a first-round pick after taking huge strides in his sophomore season.

Arkansas will now turn to Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones to lead its offense.

It's a tough blow for the Razorbacks but it makes sense for Gafford to shutdown the rest of his season. The circumstances would most likely be different if the team made the big dance.

Gafford finishes his career with Arkansas as a consensus first-team All-SEC selection in only two years of college hoops.

He'll now devote his time to improving his stock before and during the NBA Combine.