Daniel Orton is in no rush to expedite the recruiting process. And according to Orton, that’s just fine by the collegiate coaches recruiting him.
In an update given late Wednesday afternoon, Orton, a 6-9 250-pound junior center from Oklahoma City (Okla.) McGuinness said he’s far from reaching any sort of definitive conclusion of potential suitors.
“Coaches have asked me if I want them to recruit me harder,” Orton said, “or keep recruiting me like they are.
“I told them they can keep recruiting me like they are because I’m not ready to focus on recruiting,” he added.
Don’t mistake the lack of pressure for interest. Orton has dozens of scholarship offers from some of the most prestigious programs in the country. The standout junior, ranked as the No. 3-center nationally in the 2009 recruiting class according to ScoutHoops.com says he’s averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds and nearly eight blocks per game this season for McGuinness, who’s currently 13-3.
Known as a defensive presence and a great rebounder, Orton has continually improved his offensive skills.
Confident, but not cocky, he reminds people of that.
“It’s coming along pretty well,” he said of his offensive game. “I put up 30 points and then 31 points in back-to-back games against a couple of our biggest rivals. My teammates are really trying to get me the ball and when I get double and triple teamed, it allows me to pass the ball back out and get more assists.”
Orton, who is the younger brother of former Oklahoma State center Terrence Crawford, has taken unofficial visits to Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas.
However, he says he’s nowhere near ready to trim a list that he claims is “well over” 20 schools.
“I’m just trying to watch some teams play and see how they do right now,” Orton said, adding he has seen Connecticut, the Big 12 schools, Florida, Michigan, Maryland, USC and UCLA among many others. “I really would like to be able to narrow it down to 10 or 15 schools.”
It might be summer before he does that.
His high school season might run into early March. After that, Orton will look to take some more unofficial visits this spring sandwiched in between AAU tournaments.
After that, he plans to take all five official visits after the beginning of his senior year. For now, he was asked if there were any favorites.
“Oklahoma, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas and UCLA,” he responded.
Asked if Ohio State was still involved after being named a favorite a few months ago, Orton said: “yes they are.”
“(Greg) Oden was a great player,” Orton added. “Ohio State certainly didn’t make Greg Oden, but the fact he was such a great player and they helped him get to the NBA helps.”
Getting to the pros will be a big factor.
“I’m looking at schools with great tradition and good fan support whether it’s basketball schools or football schools,” he said. “I’m looking at how the players get along with the coaches and I really am looking at how good teams are at getting their players and big guys to the NBA.”
The sentimental favorite seems to be Oklahoma.
Not only are the Sooners a hometown choice, but now they’ve got an added advantage – relatives.
Sooner assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro is Orton’s uncle. It’s not the end-all, according to Orton, but he admits it doesn’t hurt.
“Oronde is a good guy,” he said. “It comes down to the best thing for me personally though.”