When you think about the 2010 decade and Razorback men’s basketball, there wasn’t a lot of high-level success. However, Arkansas basketball produced plenty of talent in this decade.
We at Natural State Sports decided to take a look back. But instead of the same old boring “All Decade Team,” we decided to draft our All Decade Teams from a list of 22 of the best players to play at Bud Walton Arena over the last 10 years and let you, the fans, decide which team is the best! And of course, in my humblest of opinions, I must say this team I have drafted is tops on the list.
G- Mason Jones
There are two story lines that seemed to dominate Mason’s time at Arkansas, the fact he used to be fat and the disrespect he constantly received from conference and national media. But what should and will be remembered about Mason is the chip he always seemed to carry on his shoulder. Mason could not be stopped at times, scoring 40- plus points twice, 30- plus seven times, and 20- plus in 9 games. His (likely) final season at Arkansas saw him carry his team to an unlikely 20-win season and at minimum NIT appearance if not for a season cancelled by Covid-19. During that final season Mason averaged 22 points per game, 24 ppg in SEC play, 45% from the field, 35% from 3-point range and 83% from the charity stripe all culminating in All SEC 1st Team honors as well as Co-SEC POY by the AP.
G- Jaylen Barford
Barford arrived at Arkansas as a prized get for then Head Coach Mike Anderson. The #1 junior college transfer in the 2016 class Barford made an immediate impact. Averaging 13 points per game his JR year he became a dynamic duo with backcourt mate and fellow JUCO transfer Daryl Macon. After testing NBA waters after his JR year Barford returned for his Senior year to become a 1st Team All-SEC player. As a SR Barford averaged 18 ppg, 2 assists and 4 rebounds per game. Barford went undrafted after his SR year before joining the Minnesota Timberwolves summer league team. Barford was then given a shot with the Charlotte Hornets after signing a training camp deal. Barford has spent the last year playing in Italy.
F- Adrio Bailey
Bailey’s inclusion on this list might seem odd. But then again it seems Bailey’s entire career at Arkansas was undervalued. Under Mike Anderson Bailey never seemed to reach his potential. A menace on defense and underrated energy guy, Bailey excelled his SR year, blocking 45 shots and leading the team in deflections with 142. Bailey compiled 100 blocks and 92 steals and is 1 of only 5 Razorbacks with 100+ blocks and 90+ steals joining the likes of Steven Hill, Derek Hood, Oliver Miller and Todd Day. Bailey also seemed to always find the perfect time to hit an unsuspecting 3. Bailey is the defensive glue of this All Decade Team.
C- Daniel Gafford
A steal with my 4th pick Gafford might be the best basketball player on this list, although Mason Jones certainly has an argument. A 4 Star recruit and 39th best player in the nation out of high school according to 24/7 sports ratings Gafford was an immediate impact star at Arkansas. SEC All-Freshman Team his freshman season Gafford was the first Arkansas freshman in program history to record 400 points, 200 rebounds and 60 blocks in a season and was voted SEC Freshman of the Week 3 times. Gafford’s sophomore season became award season as Gafford racked up 2 more SEC POW honors, SEC All-Defensive Team, 1st team All-SEC, AP All-America Honorable Mention and Collegeinsider.com Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team. Gafford ranks 2nd in school history in career field goal percentage at .635 and 6th in school history with 141 career blocked shots. Gafford went on to be drafted by the Chicago Bulls 38th overall in the 2019 NBA draft. Daniel Gafford’s dunks alone are reason enough to vote this team the top All Decade Team.
G- Rotnei Clarke
So, I was torn when making this pick. I could have had BJ Young who would have been a good addition, but I had to make the move on the 3-point assassin Rotnei Clarke. Clarke was a highly rated recruit out of high school, ranked by ESPN as the 6th best PG and 52nd best player overall in the 2008 class. Clarke’s freshman year saw him play in all 30 games and average 12 ppg while leading the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at 39.3% and hitting on 93.5% of his free throw attempts. His 83 made 3 pointers was a freshman record held until Isaiah Joe broke it in February of 2019. For his career Clarke ranks 2nd in career 3’s made with 274, 1st in made 3’s in a game with 13 and 3rd in made 3’s in a season with 100. Clarke is just the sharpshooting guard this All Decade Team needs.