Daniel Orton Heading To The NBA?

Justin RayContributor IApril 1, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 12:  Daniel Orton #33 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Many University of Kentucky fans are waiting to see which of their talented freshman will be the first to put their name in this years upcoming NBA draft.

It has been a foregone conclusion that John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins will both be top ten draft picks in this years upcoming draft and the play of Eric Bledsoe throughout the season has put his name on the list of players that have a chance to be drafted in the first 13 picks, which are considered the lottery picks of the NBA draft.

Daniel Orton, the sixth man of the team and the freshman who seemed to have the most to gain by returning for one more season, might not be seeing it the same as everyone else.

Orton's father, Larry Orton, told The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky that his son has already made up his mind and would be dropping out of school to head to California to prepare for this year's draft.

A few mock draft website's have Daniel Orton rated as late first round draft pick for the 2010 draft but a potential top ten pick in the 2011 draft.

This season Daniel Orton averaged 3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds in 13 minutes of playing time as a back up to Cousins and junior Patrick Patterson.

Daniel said there is no truth to what his father said about him already deciding to turn pro after just one year at the University of Kentucky and he is still weighing his options.

The bigger question besides if he will or will not turn pro, will be which NBA team will take a chance on a player based solely on potential in the first round of the draft.

Orton showed at times during the season that he can be a force on the inside on defense for any team.

In a game against the North Carolina Tarheels Orton blocked three consecutive shots in the same Tarheel possession.

What Orton showed the most throughout the season was his raw ability to work hard around the basketball but also his limited offensive ability and knack for picking up cheap fouls.

Hopefully this decision will not turn out to be a Randolph Morris type decision that occurred in the 2005 NBA draft for the then Kentucky freshman center. Morris went undrafted after a above average freshman season to only return to the Wildcats because of a stipulation that allowed players to return to school if they had not signed with an agent and went undrafted.

Should be a wild and interesting offseason in Lexington.