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Staying at Kentucky pays off for Daniel Orton

BY BRANDON CHATMON Modified: March 25, 2010 at 9:38 am •  Published: March 25, 2010
When Daniel Orton signed with Kentucky in the fall of 2008, then-UK basketball coach Billy Gillespie told the former Bishop McGuinness forward he would be "the man” in Lexington.

Things changed drastically in the next year. In a span of months, Orton went from being "the man” to a non-starter.

Last spring, Gillespie was removed, and John Calipari took over in Lexington, bringing highly regarded recruits John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins along with him. After briefly reconsidering his decision, Orton stuck with Kentucky and things couldn’t have turned out better for the Oklahoma City native.

Orton has helped Kentucky to the Sweet 16 this season. The Wildcats play Cornell in Syracuse, N.Y., at 8:57 tonight.

"It’s been a blast,” said Orton. "I feel like I made the right decision.”

Orton is the sixth man on a Kentucky squad that is 34-2. The 6-foot-10 center averages 3.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 13.3 minutes per game.

"It was something I had to get used to,” Orton said of his sixth-man role. "I’ve done a good job of handling my role: Block shots, rebounds, score when I need to.”

Despite never playing more than 23 minutes in any game this season, Orton has caught the eye of NBA scouts and national draft analysts.

Writes "It’s not hard for NBA scouts to see his potential.


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