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.