Daniel Orton: “I should have stayed at Kentucky”
From the Orlando PinStriped Post…
Orlando Magic rookie Daniel Orton says he sometimes thinks he should have stayed at the University of Kentucky instead of declaring for the 2010 NBA Draft after just one season at the NCAA level. “There’s times when I think maybe I should have stayed,” the 6-foot-10 center told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, “But I never regretted the decision.”
Orlando made Orton the 29th overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, but a knee injury he suffered in just his second game with the NBA D-League’s New Mexico Thunderbirds kept him out of action for the rest of the season. Now healthy enough to play, Orton came up in a big way Sunday when Glen Davis hyperextended his right knee against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 29 minutes, the former Bishop McGuinness Catholic High star tallied 11 points, four rebounds, five steals, and three blocked shots. One night later, he earned the first start of his career and posted six points, six boards, and one block.
In his lone season as a Kentucky Wildcat, Orton made 38 appearances in relief of DeMarcus Cousins, averaging 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds. His potential at a position scarce on NBA talent was enough to entice the Magic to select him in the Draft. However, the Magic elected not to pick up the third-year option on his contract, meaning Orton will enter unrestricted free agency on July 1st. Fortunately, Orton doesn’t regret his choice to go pro, and his combination of size and youth–he won’t turn 22 until August–will make him attractive to several teams looking to fill out the end of their benches.
I think a couple more years could have potentially helped Orton in the long run, but just like he injured his knee in the summer league before his rookie year, he could have injured himself even worse in a college game and ruined his ability to get drafted in the first round where contracts are guaranteed. Of course, that might not have happened. Its possible Orton could have developed under Calipari into the next Dwight Howard. A lot of things are possible. Maybe he would have been deemed academically ineligible his second year, who knows.
In the end, Kentucky won an NCAA Championship and Daniel finally got his chance to prove he could play in the NBA, which will likely lead him to another lucrative contract. All’s well that ends well.