November 13, 2007

Top center for 2009 listing Cats early

Kentucky's search for a big man in the Class of 2008 may have come up empty with the November signing period beginning Wednesday and no classic post player expected to join the Wildcats, but the UK staff is getting a head start on perhaps the best player available in that mold for 2009.

Daniel Orton, a 6-foot-9, 273-pound center from Oklahoma City's Bishop McGuinness High School, says Kentucky is among a number of top programs that has drawn his early interest. The spring and summer AAU circuit was an eye-opening affair for Orton, who commanded attention from coast to coast for his play with the Athletes First AAU club. He emerged rated the No. 1 center and No. 10 prospect overall in the junior class.

"Actually, everything is calming down a little bit for me right now because the season is starting, and I think coaches are focused on their teams," Orton said, "but back in the summer time it was really busy.

"I've heard a lot from Ohio State, Connecticut, Texas, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Kansas, OU, OSU, UCLA, Maryland, Florida… really from all over, but those are the main ones that come to mind."

The list should grow before it gets any shorter.

"Nah, I really can't even say right now," Orton responded when asked if he has any early favorites. "All of those are great schools. I'm just getting started."

A family tie will be worth watching. Orton's brother, Terrance Crawford, played for Oklahoma State. He was also recruited by Bill Self of Kansas when the coach was at Tulsa.

Asked how Kentucky got involved, Orton says it traces back to the staff's time at Texas A&M. Billy Gillispie & Co. have moved east now - and have a much higher profile standing in the college basketball world, but Orton is just getting to know the Wildcats.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!