LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas freshman Jordan Walsh is entering the 2023 NBA Draft and wil leave the door open for a possible return to Arkansas for his sophomore season in 2023-24, a source told Hogville in early April.
He becomes the fifth Razorback with remaining playing eligibility from the ’22-23 roster to declare for the draft, an unprecedented amount from a single Arkansas team when looking at the program historically.
Walsh has some second-round mock draft projections, and one NBA scout told Hogville he could envision a scenario where Walsh works his way into the late stages of the first round.
Following each of his first four seasons at Arkansas, head coach Eric Musselman has had Hogs players enter the NBA Draft and/or seek professional basketball opportunities with remaining college elgibility, and in each case those players did not return to Arkansas.
Walsh (6-7 combo forward) projects as a 3-and-D wing at the professional basketball level. As a flexible 3/4-combo, he was the only frontliner for the Hogs who would mix in face-up and interior production on offense as he also evolved his two-way impact (offense and defense) throughout the season, culminating in him being the Hogs’ X-factor in postseason play.
His constant hounding and effective disruption against Kansas’ first-team All American and Big 12 Player of the Year Jalen Wilson and Illinois versatile Coleman Hawkins were significant in helping the Hogs survive-and-advance in the first two rounds of a ’22-23 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 run.
As one of three heralded 5-star prospects coming into ’22-23, Walsh finished the season with 22 starts in his 36 games played and had averages of 7.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 24.4 minutes while shooting 43.3% from the field, including 27.8% from 3, and 71.2% from the free throw line.
Walsh had big production in the Hogs’ biggest wins — 10 points, 3 rebounds, and s steals against Kansas in the NCAAT; 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block against Auburn in the SECT; 13 points (4-of-4 field goals, including 1-of-1 from 3, and 4-of-4 free throws) at Kentucky; 12 points and 7 rebounds against Texas A&M at home; 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block against Oklahoma at a neutral site; and career-high 18 points (7-of-7 field goals, including 1-of-1 from 3, and 3-of-4 free throws), 4 steals, and 3 rebounds against Bradely at a neutral site.