Orton's freshman season winding down

Kentucky freshman center on the hype surrounding College Gameday activities, discusses what the Wildcats need to do to improve and reflects on his freshman season.

Kentucky freshman Daniel Orton has been one of the first subs off the bench for the Wildcats throughout Kentucky's first twenty-four games. He has experienced many things this season as the 23-1 Wildcats have had many big games, reached their 2000th victory, and now he will experience ESPN's College Gameday as the Tennessee Volunteers visit Rupp Arena.

Orton was asked about how the team feels about College Gameday.

Orton said, "We are all excited about it. It is something that we all looking forward to. The fans are really passionate about it; they sold out Rupp Arena. To go over to Gameday would be something cool to see."

Coaches and fans may worry about the team not being focused for the game. Will the Gameday festivities be a distraction for the youthful Wildcats?

"Not at all. We are all focused on the game and focused on what we have to do. It will be a big game for both teams. With Gameday here, it will put pressure on both teams to perform."

With mid-February upon the Wildcats Daniel was asked about how it feels to see the season quickly coming to a close.

"It is something that Coach Calipari has been trying to instill in us, but we haven't given it too much thought. There isn't much of the season left. We will probably never be on another team like this again. With great players and the great talent we have, one day in life we will look back on all of it. So for now, we need to embrace what we have," said Orton.

Does Orton think he has matured as a player and a person over the course of the season?

"Yeah I would have to say so," said the UK freshman. "Growing up and going to college has made me a mature person, but there are so many different aspects. Playing on this team, you see so many different things that help you to grow."

What do the Wildcats need to improve upon over the next few weeks as the Wildcats get ready for postseason play?

"We have a lot of room to improve. No one is ever perfect; there are always areas to improve in. We can always get better. Coach Calipari said that he can improve in not sitting back as much," Orton said. "There are certain areas where he has to call time outs to keep things from getting out of hand. At certain times we require hands-on approach, but a lot of times I think he can just let us loose. I can improve on my offensive game. It is getting there."

Has coming off the bench as a sub for DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson been an adjustment for Orton, who was one of the top centers in high school basketball during his prep career?

"It's really not that bad. I can listen to coach Calipari and what he tells DeMarcus to do. I can learn from DeMarcus' mistakes and make sure that I don't repeat them. Starting is fun," Orton explained, "but it really doesn't mean everything to me. On the bench you can figure out the opposing team before you get out there."

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