Scouting Daniel Orton

May 16, 2008

Okay, I am going to let out a secret weapon I have. I have a friend who follows basketball recruiting and even maintains his own player database. Whereas I like to keep up with players coming to the ACC, he likes to scout players and can really spot good players. I like to think that I can spot a good player (probably after someone else mentions them), but I don’t maintain my own database.

Anyway, the reason I am mentioning this is because I’ve convinced him to share notes on one ACC target. I am hopeful that he will post some more of these himself in the future. These are his notes on Daniel Orton (6’10”, C, 2009), who has been offered by Maryland and reportedly was being recruited by Duke and UNC at one time.

At any rate, here is his current scouting report for Daniel Orton. This is a dump right out of his database, not really a polished write up.

Daniel Orton Scouting Report

One of the best big men in the Class of 2009. Orton is a big, strong post player who likes to play center. I’ve seen him listed at 6’9”, 6’10”, and 6’11” all within the past year. He’s an excellent shot blocker and can hit from 10-12 feet consistently. Some reports say he can shoot the three, but I have watched him three times and have never seen him take a deep shot, so I don’t know if he can shoot it from behind the arc or not. He will need to be more physical in college and use his strength to mix it up more persistently. He runs the floor, but doesn’t really run ahead of the break at this point. This does not mean he couldn’t; it just doesn’t seem to be a habit yet. He does not really run down to the front of the rim so he can receive the transition pass under the basket. However, he is not a big stiff, he has good hands and can actually push the ball up the floor if he needs to on the break, although once he gets to college that probably won’t be often. He has an agile, loose gait as he runs the floor and looks like he could really take off at any moment. I’ve seen him handle the ball well in transition, but I’ve also seen him have trouble getting to the rim to finish.

A pretty good rebounder, he really is a presence in the lane and even gives other big men problems. He’s extremely disruptive on defense, being a patient player, deflecting passes and blocking shots. He watches the play develop and seems to have the ability to always swat the ball away, making points in the lane hard to come by. He gets more than just shots, he also swats away a lot of passes. He really frustrates any attempts by the opposing team to get anything going in the paint. He’s a position rebounder as opposed to a timing rebounder, meaning he gets rebounds by taking up space and holding his place, often getting flat footed rebounds.

Orton can get up around the rim, but not a sky walker either. A good size to play the post in college, but likely will could play some power forward in the pros. Should be a solid college player and has the ability to really excel. He has shown flashes of brilliance, even taking the ball full court and slashing into the lane, but those plays are offset by the plays where he just drifts out and doesn’t engage.

Orton can pass the ball, but even though his passing is decent, sending zipping passes, he has a habit of passing in into traffic under the basket. That said, he doesn’t just wildly throw the ball away, either. He knows how to clear space to catch the pass in the post but often he will settle for the short jumper instead of using the drop step against slower defenders. He does look to pass the ball inside often, something even a lot of guards struggle to comprehend. Orton does understand the concept of passing the ball in for a higher percentage shot. Unfortunately, it would be nice to see Orton take the ball more on his own to get points and not settle for a tough pass or jump shot. Sometimes it seems like he should take the ball to the hoop and doesn’t, while other times he will take it in even though he’s being triple teamed. He does have a decent hook shot, which he says is one of his favorite moves.

One of the knocks on Orton is that he has a tendency to take plays off, and that has been true in the games I’ve seen this year. Sometimes he looks great and then other times he kind of just disappears. This could be a combination of conditioning and his own tendencies, but even in games where he was going against much less skilled big men he would either come on strong or fade out for a few minutes. He’s good enough that in these games he still gets some points, but not as many as he should.

Orton has shot free throws well when I’ve seen him.