Hoops Recruiting: Orton Is Big-Time Big Man

Daniel Orton was just in grade school but he remembers like it was yesterday. Orton was in awe as Terrence Crawford, his older brother, attracted the attention of basketball coaches throughout the state. "I thought at the time that it would be cool to be recruited like that, but I never saw myself being that good," Orton said. Guess what? Orton is that good, and attracting plenty of attention.

The 6-foot-11, 265-pound Orton, a junior at Bishop McGuinness High School in Oklahoma City, is going to be one of the most highly recruited high school players in the nation in the next 14 months. He listed as the 14th-best overall prospect (and the third-highest ranked center) in the Class of 2009, by Scout.com recruiting director Dave Telep. Orton recalls seeing coaches like Eddie Sutton (Oklahoma State), Kelvin Sampson (Oklahoma) and Bill Self (Tulsa) sitting in his living room during the recruitment of Crawford, who eventually signed with the OSU Cowboys and was a member of the 2004 Final Four team.

But if Orton thought that was impressive, he's in for another thing or two the next year while his recruitment heats up. In addition to having Sean Sutton (OSU), Jeff Capel (Oklahoma), Self (this time representing Kansas) in his living room, the Ortons could also find themselves entertaining the likes of Roy Williams (North Carolina), Ben Howland (UCLA), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) and Jim Calhoun (Connecticut). Those are just some of the many schools who are actively recruiting Orton.

Orton said he plans to take his time in making a decision. He hopes to narrow his list of 20 to 25 schools who have already offered scholarships to "five to eight, if possible, by early next summer," said the well-spoken Bishop McGuinness junior. "I'm probably going to go through the whole process, and take all five of my official visits. I'm pretty open right now. I'm just listening to what everyone has to say."

Orton is going to hear plenty before the early signing period next November. After all, every program covets a dominating post player who can score, rebound and be an intimidating factor on the defensive end. They are hard to find, and even harder to sign, and that's why Orton could become one of the most sought after players in the nation in the next 14 months, leading up to the 2008 early signing period next November.

The 17-year-old stands 6-foot-11, 265 pounds, and isn't finished growing. "I'm hoping to grow some more, maybe get to 7-foot or 7-1. I think I'll be about 280 by the time my freshman year starts," said Orton. "At the beginning of the summer I was weighing 273 but by the end of the summer, after traveling all over the country and playing back-to-back-to-back tournaments, I was down to about 240. I want to start the (high school) season around 250."

Orton was a role player on McGuinness's Class 4A state championship squads the past two seasons. He averaged 7.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore. But Orton believes he's going to be one of the state's most surprising players in 2007-08.

"I'm ready to shock some people," he says. "Most people don't think I'm a scorer, but I've been able to score all my life. I've just been a role player, and accepting of my role on the team, the past two seasons. I'm looking forward to this season and showing people what I can really do."

(NOTE: This excerpt on Daniel Orton is from the story titled "OSU Targets Future Stars" in Go Pokes Magazine. To read the complete article, pick up the November issue of Go Pokes Magazine. If you wish to subscribe, call 1-888-501-5752, or click here Yes, I want to begin receiving Go Pokes Magazine)

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