Seconds after cheers erupted for the announcement of Daniel Orton as the 29th overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, the former Bishop McGuinness and Kentucky center walked over to his father Larry and gave him a long embrace.
The anticipation was over. Daniel Orton had finally made it.
“It was an emotional moment,” Daniel Orton said.
“It's been an emotional couple of years.”
Orton's selection was the end of a long road to the NBA, which included a knee injury as a senior at McGuinness, coaching changes at Kentucky and the death of his mother, Carolyn Orton, in 2009.
The elation of the moment came after three hours of suspense as Daniel waited to be selected. The 6-foot-10, 260-pounder was projected to go as high as No. 10 overall, but he fell into the lap of the Magic late in the first round.
“It comes as a shock for me,” Daniel Orton said. “I never thought I would be drafted by Orlando. I never heard from Orlando. I didn't work out for them. I haven't talked to any staff members.”
It could be an ideal situation for Orton. He will get the opportunity to learn behind All-Star center Dwight Howard while providing depth and defense off the bench for the Magic, who finished with a 59-23 record in 2009-10.
Playing with Howard “is going to be fun,” said Orton, who averaged 3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during his only season at Kentucky. “He's an amazing player, amazing person. I can learn a lot from him.”