Orton Getting Hit With Massive Interest

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- If Daniel Orton seems as if he's in no hurry to move forward with his college decision, don't chalk it up to apathy. The 6-10 junior center, a consensus top-25 national prospect at Oklahoma City (Okla.) Bishop McGuiness, is catching heavy attention from schools right and left.

In fact, at last week's  LeBron James Skills Academy, Daniel Orton caught more interest than he did passes from camp teammates. The big man, cracking a smile, politely suggested that some of his smaller peers should consider their big men as more than airport accessories.

"LeBron was a great camp, a really great camp, but it was also kind of frustrating," Orton said. "You know how it is with guards at the camps, but I just kept working hard."

This weekend, back in the familiar Athletes First uniform and playing alongside fellow high-major juniors Xavier Henry and Kyle Hardrick at the Peach Jam, Orton's talents again have been on display. The burly big man continues to showcase an offensive game in the post that includes short jumphooks and turnarounds, in addition to the dunks he gets after ripping down offensive boards.

While it's early in the process for Orton, his college recruitment is building momentum, as the regional schools that pursued him first now are facing serious national competition.

"My list is still wide open, getting bigger all the time," Orton said. "Ohio State, Oklahoma, Duke, Maryland, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, just a whole lot."

Not only is Orton a talent, he has grown into a legitimate, pure center. Even if he adds face-up skills, his home in college, at the very least, will be in the pivot. And once a strong, tall big man like Orton is secured, the winning school will enjoy greater flexibility with respect to the power forward spot, because some of the essentials -- rebounding and post defense -- already will be covered.

As for Kansas specifically, Orton cites a personal connection to Bill Self, as well as a natural attraction to the program's prestige and style of play.

"I love Coach Self," Orton said. "He recruited my brother (Terrence Crawford) for Tulsa and is just a great guy. That's definitely something in Kansas' favor.

"I've also talked to Coach Manning. I just really like everyone there and the tradition there, and how they play."

Orton said that he has no plans to decide anytime soon, and instead he'll focus on the rest of the summer and his junior season. Athletes First will travel to Orlando for the AAU events to finish their summer.

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