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NBA Draft: Mom still inspiring former Kentucky, McGuinness standout Daniel Orton

By Brandon Chatmon, Staff Writer, bchatmon@opubco.com Modified: June 13, 2010 at 2:06 am •  Published: June 13, 2010
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"I didn't want to be selfish about it and just think of me in the situation. I thought about what she wanted to do, she suffered for so long. I understood she probably didn't want to suffer anymore.”

Carolyn Orton died at 52, but she lives on through Daniel Orton's actions. He honored her by wearing jersey No. 52 in the Jordan All-American game shortly after her death. He honored her by his non-reaction to a Kentucky fan calling her an "escape goat” on his Facebook page after he declared for the draft. Undoubtedly, he'll honor her with his actions throughout his NBA career.

"That's his driving force,” Crawford said. "It gives him incentive to be successful, do the right thing and carry on his mom's legacy in the right way. She was a fighter and that's instilled in Daniel, being a fighter and not quitting.”

Daniel Orton's challenging road to the NBA will end on June 24th, which will mark the beginning of a whole new journey. And while Carolyn Orton won't be there in body, she will be there in the form of her 6-foot-10, 270-pound son and the growth he's shown in the past 18 months.

"It's going to be a tough day for me,” Orton said of draft night. "It's something I'll think about that day and the night before.”

Said Crawford: "Being 18 years old and sitting in a hospital room and watching your mom take her last breath, that would be hard for anybody. It's been a roller coaster. To see him go through so much adversity (and still become an NBA prospect) is a testament to his character, a testament to how he was raised.”