While at the Knicks-Magic game a couple nights ago, I was privileged to experience firsthand a rookie hard at work. No, it wasn’t Landry Fields‘ three-point, four-rebound performance in the OT thriller; I’m talking about work of a different variety. Away from the hardwood, in the Magic locker room after the game, 6-10, 255-pound rookie Daniel Orton – draped in his Sunday’s finest – was doing his best impression of Geoffrey, the butler from Fresh Prince. Not only was he cleaning out the locker of Gilbert Arenas, carrying Earl Clark’s tote bag and moving chairs out of the way for reporters, but he even waited ‘til the bitter end to collect Dwight Howard’s Louis Vuitton toiletry bag after he was finished his postgame interviews. A spectacle to say the least.
If you don’t recall, Orton was the last (29th pick) of the record five Kentucky Wildcats taken in the first-round of last year’s NBA Draft. This year hasn’t been kind to Daniel as he is yet to see action with the Magic beyond Summer League play, and has been out of the lineup rehabbing his left knee after arthroscopic surgery back in December. We were able to briefly catchup with the rookie in the midst of his hazing duties to talk about Kentucky’s run in the NCAA Tournament.
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Dime: Did you expect your Wildcats to get this far?
Daniel Orton: You know I didn’t really think much about it. I knew we were going to do really well, so now I’m really happy for them.
Dime: How do you like their chances against UConn?
DO: I think they can get ‘em!
Dime: Who do you like most on this year’s team?
DO: Josh Harrellson, but I like everybody. I don’t think anybody expected this year out of him, but he stepped up and played really well. Brandon [Knight] is a great point guard, I think he’s a really good player.
Dime: What do you think was Kentucky’s most convincing victory in their tournament run this year?
DO: I’d say their most recent one against North Carolina. So many people doubted them because they had lost to them earlier on in the year, and so many people didn’t expect them to win the last game too. I think the fact that they came through and won that game, I think that surprised a lot of people.
Dime: Who’s going to be in the final two?
DO: I’d say Butler-Kentucky.
I clearly didn’t have to ask him who he though was going to win.
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