Daniel Gafford has broken out since arriving in DC a couple years ago, and despite the 0-1 start after Wednesday’s loss, he’s excited to be getting 2023-24 underway under a new regime, with a new roster.
“We’re very excited; we have a lot of new pieces this year, a lot of dynamic guys coming in and giving us just like a different outlook on this year, so I'm excited,” Gafford told BMitch & Finlay Friday. “We're all coming in, we're making sure we put the work in to give an exciting season to the Washington community and the DMV community in general.”
Wes Unseld Jr. and Will Dawkins told the Junkies on Friday morning that the rebuild won’t be rushed, and that each player has been given some goals to work towards as the team evaluates itself every once in a while.
For Gafford, that means slowing down the game, being more dominant in the paint, and, as he said, “staying consistent and being better each day than the day before” to help the team win. JP loves his hops, though, which Gafford was proud of, and home fans are going to get to see that Saturday night at Capital One Arena as the home opener kicks off the campaign in earnest.
“I’m excited. I know it's gonna be electric,” Gafford said. “I’m pretty sure the fans have been waiting to see just pretty much what we've been working on, and I know they’re excited for all the new guys coming through. We’re gonna come out and play some good basketball, and it’s going to be a great night.”
There was almost one fan that wouldn’t have been able to see it, though: one of Gafford’s six dogs, a French bulldog who was “stolen” one day on the streets.
“I've sadly experienced that here in the DC area, but they actually brought it back, I think it got on their nerves,” Gafford explained. “He got out, I was chasing him down the street, and this guy pulls up and grabs him and goes off with him. We go look for him for like 45 minutes, go back to the house, and when we go in, I come back out and the guy’s outside smiling like, ‘oh, I thought we were joking around’ and gave my dog back. Very weird day for me.”
That story left JP and BMitch flabbergasted, as JP can’t believe someone would take anything from a 6-foot-10 dude.
“Yeah, but was already in his car and my dog was young, so he just put his ears back and ran to him thinking ‘this gotta be a friend’ and just hopped in the car with him,” Gifford joked. “I just felt so betrayed, but thankfully, we got him back.”
Reunited, and Gafford hopes that he, his wife, and the dogs can continue to build a family in DC.
“My wife and I are both from Arkansas, but if I’m welcomed here, I would love to stay here,” Gafford said. “I understand that this league is a business, so if I can stay here as long as I possibly can, this is gonna be my home for sure.”