Calipari: Orton critical to postseason

Kentucky coach John Calipari leaves no doubt about how important he thinks freshman Daniel Orton could be this season, especially in postseason play.

Kentucky coach John Calipari leaves no doubt about how important he thinks freshman Daniel Orton could be this season, especially in postseason play.

"I love the kid for this reason. Here is kid that is one of the top 30 players in his class. He comes to Kentucky and we later get DeMarcus Cousins. He knows DeMarcus is a god player and how good he is. He is mad he is not playing more but I would be mad at him if he was not mad. I am trying to find minutes for him," the UK coach said.

"He is probably the X factor of our team. If DeMarcus gets in foul trouble or God forbid loses his mind and does something dumb, we can still play. He can block shots. He's rebounding with two hands. There is no one I have seen that is a better player that will tip a ball away. He has Spider-Man arms. His arms are so long they can reach the other side of your body and not touch you. He's done it probably20 times this year. He is important.

"To be what he wants to be and what we all think he can be, he has to step up his work ethic. Get in the gym more. But he is a beautiful student and is doing all the right things and he is a great teammate."

Orton only laughed when told of the Spider-Man comparison.

"I guess you could consider that a compliment even though I have never heard that before," he said.

However, does like the thought of becoming a bigger part of UK's success this year. "I have been wanting more responsibility and I am looking forward to that," Orton, who is averaging 3.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 13 minutes per game, said. "I know I have to step up my game. Things are coming along, too. I am trying to do what the coaches want."

He says he's spent time working with his brother, former Oklahoma State standout Terrence Crawford. He's taken only 67 shots — an average of about 2.5 per game — and made 33.

"My offense is a lot more developed than it has been lately. I am coming along slowly, but it is getting better. There is a lot more to show, too," he said.


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