Think Matt Painter is sweating out the deadline for underclassmen to pull out of the draft? A Purdue team with Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore would be a legit Final Four contender. Painter is not the only coach with cause for concern.[details]
2010 (Senior):HEADER DANIEL ORTON Power Forward/Center University of Kentucky Wildcats #33 6:08.7-269 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Bishop McGuiness High School
OVERVIEW Despite a relative pedestrian freshman season at Kentucky, Orton, more than any other player, has drawn considerable attention from NBA teams. Some analysts feel that he has more upside than any other Wildcat in this draft outside of John Wall. With his great work ethic and willingness to play within the system, this underrated talent is reminding scouts of Gerald Wallace and Kendrick Perkins, a pair of grizzled NBA veterans that have sacrificed personal success for that of their respective teams.
"Daniel is a very, driven and passionate individual," Kentucky head coach John Calipari states. "He has worked himself into excellent shape during the offseason. The adversity he has overcome in the last year seems to have made him stronger. He gained confidence over the summer that should be beneficial in the upcoming season."
That adversity comes from the grueling rehabilitation program he underwent as a senior at Bishop McGuiness High School. A rare athlete who earned a five-star prep rating, the Oklahoma City product tore his anterior cruciate ligament, cutting his final season of high school basketball short.
Even though Orton did not compete most of his senior season due to the injury, he returned in time to participate in the 2009 Oklahoma state tournament. He participated in the 2009 Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic, where he scored 12 points and also played in the 2009 Jordan Brand Classic.
Rivals.com rated Orton the nation's third-best center and 22nd-best overall prospect after his junior season. That year, he averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots per game.
Recruited to the University of Kentucky by Billy Gillispie, who was fired following Orton's senior season, the center kept his commitment to Kentucky after Calipari was hired by the university. He would become part of arguably one of the greatest recruiting classes in history along with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Jon Hood and Darnell Dodson.
A valuable performer off the bench, Orton saw time at both power forward and center in 38 games for the Wildcats during the 2009-10 season. That strong recruiting class, along with junior forward Patrick Patterson, helped Kentucky compile a 35-3 record, the second-best campaign by a Wildcats' team in school history. It would give Kentucky an NCAA record 12th season with at least 30 victories, as they became the first Division I institution to record 2,000 victories since its inception.
While other star athletes would have been frustrated in being relegated to reserve duty, Orton embraced it. He averaged 13.2 minutes per game coming off the bench, second-best among the UK reserves. He made 52.7 percent of his field goal tries and hit on 52.4 percent of his free throws, averaging 3.4 points per game.
What surprised scouts about Orton most was his excellent hands and physical toughness. He finished fourth on the team with 126 rebounds, but his average of .251 rebounds per minute played was second on the team to DeMarcus Cousins (376 boards, an average of .42 per minute), who set the school freshman record for rebounds. Orton also blocked 52 shots in limited playing time, the fourth-best season total by a UK freshman.
GAME ANALYSIS Posted eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks vs. East Tennessee State in the NCAA Tournament...Tied a season high with four blocks vs. Florida...Posted six points, five rebounds and two steals in 14 minutes in the win over South Carolina...Totaled five points, five rebounds and two blocks at LSU...Recorded four blocks to go along with six points and five rebounds vs. Arkansas...Totaled a career-high nine boards and four blocks on the road at Florida...Added double-figure points for the second time in his short career with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting vs. Hartford...Grabbed a season-high seven rebounds in UK's win over Drexel...Totaled six points and four rebounds vs. Austin Peay...Posted his fifth straight game with two blocks vs. Connecticut...Set career highs with 14 points and six rebounds, including 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line vs. Rider... Swatted four blocked shots in 10 minutes vs. Sam Houston State...Had six points along with two rebounds and two steals against Miami-Ohio...Totaled four points and five rebounds in UK's season opening win vs. Morehead State...Led the team with seven rebounds in UK's first exhibition over Campbellsvile.
2009-10 SEASON Orton was a key reserve on the 2009-10 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team in his first collegiate season...Even though he registered just 502 minutes on the court (seventh on the team), he finished third on the squad with 126 rebounds (3.3 per game), including 45 from the offensive glass...Ranked second on the team, as his 52 blocked shots were the fourth-highest total by a UK freshman in a season...Made 48-of-91 field goal attempts (52.7 percent) and 33-of-62 free throw tries (52.4 percent)...Ran into foul trouble often, as he led the team with five disqualifications and was second on the unit with 88 personal fouls...Handed out 15 assists and was credited with 21 steals...Converted 13 of his 45 offensive rebounds into field goals...Blocked at least two shots in seven of 38 games he appeared in.
CAREER NOTES Despite playing in 38 games as a reserve, Orton ranked fourth on the team with 126 rebounds in 2009-10...His 52 blocked shots were the fourth-best season total by a Kentucky freshman, topped by DeMarcus Cousins (67 in 2009-10), Sam Bowie (73 in 1979-80) and Jamaal Magloire (79 in 1996-97).
HIGH SCHOOL Attended Bishop McGuiness (Oklahoma City, Okla.) High School, but saw his senior season cut short after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee...The five-star prep product returned in time to participate in the 2009 Oklahoma state tournament...Competed in the 2009 Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic, where he scored 12 points and also played in the 2009 Jordan Brand Classic...Rivals.com rated Orton the nation's third-best center and 22nd-best overall prospect after his junior season...That year, he averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots per game.
PERSONAL Undeclared major...Son of Carolyn and Larry Orton...Born 8/06/90...Resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: Orton has a developing frame with room to carry at least another 20 pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness...His wingspan measures 7-foot-4 1/4 and he also possesses a 9'-2 1/2 reach...Has large, soft hands and excellent touch scoring inside, resulting in 13 successful dunks from his 45 offensive rebounds last year...Does a fine job of using his strength, size, wingspan and anchor to be a physical force in the paint...Very athletic mover up and down the court, has the speed and lateral movement to get in front of perimeter shooters...Can muscle his way to the basket, showing a soft touch and excellent elevation to get high over the rim to alter an opponent's shot (second on the team with 52 blocks)...Times his leaps well and uses his long wingspan to create space for himself and clear out traffic and gather rebounds...Has the spring in his feet for the second jump needed after hitting the offensive glass...His reach and long arms give him an edge in the pivot (lacks ideal size to play center, compensating with his physical skills)...Gets excellent elevation going for the rebound or in attempts to block shots, and is effective using his leaping skills to dunk from the weak side...Smooth open-court runner who is best served in an up-tempo attack because of his quickness...Simply glides to the basket, showing great hang time to draw fouls on his path to the rim...Shows good shot-creating ability and consistently finishes in transition...Strides when his guards feed him in the passing lanes, as he has good strength attacking the basket...Dangerous when he pulls up behind the defense and fires from mid-range...Creates mismatches for most slower centers with his length and speed, but needs to be more selective shooting from behind the arc...Very nimble keeping his feet in bounds and is a slippery player when working underneath, showing good body contortion to make shots even when his shoulders and body aren't squared to the goal...Has a wicked spin move and is quick enough to get out of the paint and defend vs. perimeter shooters...Times his leaps well to beat the bigger men for the rebound, but also shows a nice touch on putbacks when attacking the offensive glass...Still a work in progress handling the ball, but has good hands to secure the pass.
Negatives: Might have been better served with another year in college, as he is just one season removed from a major knee injury and he's still considered a raw talent...Has to become more alert on defense; bites on pump-fakes and hesitation moves, leading to quite a few instances of foul trouble (led the team with five disqualifications) last season...Has the ability to generate contact on the way to the basket, but shows a big hitch in his release and is a liability from the foul line...Does not have the size you look for in an NBA center and despite his power and wingspan, he is not the type of athlete that can match up to physical inside pounding for long stretches...Will be drafted much higher based on his potential, but he might never develop a strong shooting touch...Must be more alert to defensive pressure, as he is turnover prone when he puts the ball on the floor...Poor outlet passer; fails to scan the court to find teammates with a better scoring opportunity...Seemed to regress as a scorer last year, losing confidence in his mid-range jumper.
--Report by Dave-Te' Thomas
Compares To: GERALD WALLACE, Charlotte -- Orton's body has to mature as he continues to recover from his prep knee injury. He can offer minutes off the bench while he improves physically and fundamentally, especially as a shot blocker or by crashing the boards. He might never be a scorer, so he needs to work on his court vision, defense and passing skills in order to gain valuable minutes. He will be drafted much higher based on potential rather than on production.