Athletes First Basketball Team
2008 Accomplishments of Athletes First

Orton Impressed With Kentucky!

Daniel Orton Impressed With Kentucky

Daniel Orton

One of the top players in the nation, Daniel Orton, has recently named Kentucky as his leader among several top quality programs. Orton, a five-star center, has had a busy spring, and has even more on the agenda this summer. We spoke with Gary Vick, head coach of Athletes First, Orton's AAU program.

6-foot-10 Daniel Orton is the top post prospect on the board for the Kentucky Wildcats. Currently rated the number three center in the nation by, Orton has an array of positives in his game. "He's a very gifted athlete," said Vick. "He has very good feet. He's probably the best passing post player in the country at his age," Vick continued. "He can also face up and shoot the ball at his size," said Vick.

Orton also possesses a skill that is desired by most coaches in the country, shot blocking. "His shot blocking, without question, is the best part of his game at this stage," said Vick. "He can really change the way teams bring the ball to the basket."

"He's gotten better every year. He's added the ability to run the floor. He can actually block a shot, take the rebound, and bring it the length of the floor for the score," said Vick. "His conditioning has allowed him to upgrade his game," Vick finished.

He does still need to work on some of the finer points of post defense however. "He's gotta work on post defense; moving his feet. When he gets to college, they'll smooth that out," said Vick.

Orton sustained an injury to his foot earlier in the spring, but coach Vick says he's recovering nicely from that injury. "He's had an assortment of injuries. He's super-tough. He's playing on a knee that's not 100 percent. He's a very mentally tough kid," said Vick.

Orton recently listed several schools as players in his recruitment, including: UCLA, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Ohio State. But at this time only one school stands out at this point.

"I don't know (if he's going to make a fall decision), but he's really impressed with Kentucky at this point. They've got a lot of things in motion," said Vick.

Orton will continue his busy schedule with the Lebron James Skills Camp from July 5th through 10th. After that, his AAU team will be playing in the Nike Peach Jam from July 12th through 15th. They'll also be participating in the Super Showcase in Orlando in July.

Back to Back 2007 & 2008 National AAU Super Showcase Champions

2008 Nike Memorial Day Classic Champions

Athletes First 2008 AAU Champions

Front Row: Kendra Talley, Nick Johnson

Left to Right: Coach Gary Vick, Donte Foster, Terrence Boyd, Kyle Hardrick
Back Row: Coach Terrence Crawford, Xavier Henry, Andrew Davis, Daniel Orton, Coach Carl Henry

Not Pictured: Coach Larry Orton

UK Basketball: Top prep player from Oklahoma gives verbal commitment to Cats

Daniel Orton Gives Verbal Commitment To Cats

For months the top recruiting target for Kentucky basketball coach Billy Orton has been Oklahoma center Daniel Orton.

Kentucky fans knew that, too, and made sure Orton got the royal treatment during his visit to Kentucky over the weekend for Big Blue Madness.

“The treatment he got from the fans was ridiculous,” said sophomore Vinny Zollo of Clark County, who verbally committed to UK last spring and was with Orton on campus Friday and Saturday. “He got a standing ovation at Madness. He got a standing ovation at the football game. At Memorial (Coliseum) when we were playing Saturday (in a pick-up game with current UK players, he walked in and the place exploded.”

Apparently Orton liked everything he saw because he gave his verbal commitment to Kentucky early Sunday and announced it publicly Sunday afternoon before returning home to Oklahoma City with his parents.

The 6-9, 260-pound Orton is considered a five-star prospect by and is rated as the third-best center in the 2009 recruiting class. Recruiting analysts rate his strengths as his defensive presence, shot-blocking ability and overall strength.

Zollo said he thought Orton’s decision to pick Kentucky was enhanced when 6-8 Thomas Robinson of New Hampshire verbally committed to Kansas on Friday. Orton had reportedly narrowed his choices to Kentucky and Kansas.

“They have been working him hard and I have heard a lot about what a big deal it would be for him to come here,” Zollo said. “He was the main concentration in the ‘09 recruiting class. I think Kansas getting that other big kid at his position influenced him and played a big role in his decision-making this weekend.”

Andy Fisher, Orton’s assistant coach at Bishop McGuinness High School in Oklahoma City, says the Cats are getting a quality player and person.

“He is a great kid. He handles business off the floor as well as he does stuff on the floor,” Fisher said Sunday. “He is everything you would want in a son. He helps kids around the city. He’s very active around school and is friends with everybody. You will not talk to anybody here who doesn’t like him.”

Even though he’s been one of the nation’s top recruits, Fisher says that has not changed his personality.

[See Article]

* In 2008 Athletes First defended their National Championship by defeating the Illinois Warriors in an ESPNU nationally televised game in Orlando, Florida.

* National AAU Showcase Champion

* Nike Memorial Day Champions

* St.Louis Eagles Inv. Champion

* Arkansas Old School Showcase Champion

* Las Vegas National Youth Champion

* Sooner Cage Classic Champion

* #1 Rated Team in America

* Three Players invited to the Nike Global Challenge

* Two players invited to the NBA Players Association Camp

* Two players invited to compete on the Nike Brazilian Tour

* Xavier Henry nominated to the Parade All American Team

* Xavier Henry ranked #1 Player in the country by ESPN

* Xavier Henry invited to the Paul Pierce Camp

* Four players invited to the Lebron James Camp

* Daniel Orton invited to the Amare Stoudemire Camp

* Kyle Hardrick invited to the Amare Stoudemire Camp

* Terrence Boyd invited to the Paul Pierce Camp

Parade All American

Xavier Henry Parade All American

Xavier Henry

College Commitments

* Brandan Jackson (Putnam City) University of Tulsa (2008)

* Jarod McDaniel (Midwest City) Stephen F. Austin University (2008)

* Keiton Page (Pawnee) Oklahoma State University (2008)

* Dennon Mitchell (Putnam City) Drury College (2008)

Athletes First

Nike Memorial Day Champions

Xavier Henry 2008 Nike Memorial Day Champions

* Xavier Henry

Daniel Orton 2008 Nike Memorial Day Champions

* Daniel Orton

Kyle Hardrick 2008 Nike Memorial Day Champions

* Kyle Hardrick

Terrence Boyd 2008 Nike Memorial Day Champions

* Terrence Boyd

Terrance Boyd-San Diego, CA
Gives Verbal Commitment to
Western Kentucky.

According to multiple sources, ESPNU 100 shooting guard Terrence Boyd has verbally committed to Western Kentucky. Recruiting Coordinator Joel Francisco has the goods on the versatile Boyd.

[Read More]

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