He's about to embark on his collegiate career, but Daniel Orton knows no matter how successful he is there will always be a void.
His mother, Carolyn, passed away last year — the same year that he also missed all but the final game of his senior season with a knee injury and saw the coach he signed to play for at Kentucky (Billy Gillispie) lose his job.
"Last year was tough. I don't think this year will be calm and peaceful, though. There will be a lot going on, but it won't be like last year," said the 6-10 freshman from Oklahoma City. "I miss my mom. It is tough to cope with. It is something I think about every day in different situations and how she would tell me to get through it. She would call me every day and tell me she loved me. I miss her and deal with that every day.
"Nobody can help you with that. I talk to people who have lost their moms and dads and they say it is something that you never get over. I really don't ever see myself getting over it."
Perhaps that's why he appreciates having his father, Larry, in Lexington. Larry Orton moved here during the summer and plans to stay in Lexington during his son's UK career.
"It is good to have him here. I figure later this season when practices get harder and coaches get tough on me that it will be even better to have him here," Orton said. "My dad has never really been about smothering me. As far as being hands-off, he is good at that. I figure he is pretty bored here because he lives for basketball. He could talk basketball 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So he's already ready for basketball to start.
"He started me playing at a young age. He said, ‘If you are not ready, let me know.' He always had basketball camps he would run and I would be in them. He would take me outside and slap me on the arms when I was shooting and I would go in running and crying to my mom. But he is what developed my toughness. Everything I have been through in basketball has been because of him."