Even on a bad knee, Oklahoma City (Okla.) Bishop McGuiness center Daniel Orton showed glimpses Thursday of why he is the one of the best junior basketball prospects in the country.
Despite playing only 19 minutes because of a gimpy left knee, the 6-10, 265-pound Orton had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in 19 in his team's 38-19 win over Springdale Har-Ber in the Holiday Hoops Tournament at Bud Walton Arena.
"It's just getting back to where I can play on it and at least I was able to do some things tonight," Orton said. "But it is nowhere near being totally healthy."
Orton hit 3 of his 6 field goal attempts and knocked down both of his free throws in the win as The Irish advanced to a Friday night 6:30 p.m. semifinal match-up with Monroe (La.) Carroll.
Orton, ranked the No. 3 junior center in the country in the 2009 class and one of the 15 players in the class overall by Scout.com, has plenty of suitors.
Among them are Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey and former Razorback and current Oklahoma assistant Orande Taliaferro, who just happens to be his uncle.
"He is bringing that up all the time," Orton said of his relationship to Taliaferro.
Orton has made a couple of visits to Arkansas when Stan Heath was the head coach.
He is getting to know Pelphrey and likes what he sees so far.
"Like I said this summer, he seems like a really good guy and someone I could enjoy playing for if that was the decision I make."
Arkansas joins Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arizona, UConn, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, Texas and many others recruiting Orton.
"I really have about 20 to 25 schools right now," Orton said. "I would say that Arkansas is in my top 10."
In other opening round action on Thursday, Monroe (La.) Carroll downed Jonesboro 85-76, Memphis Hamilton topped Springdale 71-60 and Fort Worth (TX) North Crowley downed Fayetteville 69-57.
Carroll was led by a pair of Ole Miss signees in Terrance Henry (27 points, 12 rebounds) and Brandon Wilson (21 points, 9 rebounds).
Oklahoma signee Willie Warren had 20 of his 23 points in te second half for North Crowley while Fayetteville junior star Fred Gulley is injured and will not play in the event.
In the winners' bracket on Friday, Carroll and Bishop McGuiness meet at 6:30 and Memphis Hamilton and North Crowley will battle at 8.
The consolation bracket has Jonesboro playing Har-Ber at 3:30 and Springdale and Har-Ber playing at 5.
Saturday's action begins at 12:30 p.m. with the championship game set for 5 p.m.
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