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Kentucky basketball buries the hatchet with Daniel Orton

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky basketball has decided to bury the hatchet with former center Daniel Orton.

After nearly ten years away from the program, Kentucky deputy director of athletics DeWayne Peevy brought Orton in to sign the hardwood floor they have featuring the signatures of former players that come back to visit.

“Always FAMILY!” Peevy said in the tweet.

Following the 2009-10 season, Orton declared for the NBA Draft and left school during the spring semester without finishing up his coursework.

As a result, Kentucky’s APR took a temporary hit.

“Okay there are some things that I’ve been needing to address, but I was trying to focus my attention elsewhere,” Orton said in a tweet not long after the NBA Draft in 2010. “As far as the classes, I want to apologize for not doing what I said I would. I messed up big time and hope I can be somewhat forgiven. I messed up on a few due dates on my online class and I just lost focus in school. I apologize.”

To this point, Orton is the only Kentucky player to have left in poor academic standing with the program, a note Calipari – without specifically naming names – has made on several occasions.

Back to play for DeMarcus Cousins’ Loyalty is Love team in The Basketball Tournament at Frederick Douglass High School this weekend, this is the first time he has returned to Lexington since his departure in 2010. And while he understands there may have been some hard feelings in the past, he felt it was the “perfect” opportunity to come back and catch up.

“It’s surreal honestly, it just seemed like everything was just coming back full circle. It seemed perfect,” Orton said in a media opportunity on Friday morning. “I just missed [seeing] Cal, so that was tough, but Coach [Robic] was in the office so I got to chat it up with him a little bit.”

He even added that he couldn’t help but be a little envious at the massive upgrades the Kentucky basketball facilities have seen since he left.

“You’re kind of envious because I wish we had these amenities, but at the same time, it’s good to see everything changing for guys behind us,” he said. “We started something and kind of turned it in to what it is now. It’s incredible to see.”

After his team’s 107-98 victory over the Illinois Hoopville Warriors, Orton said in the postgame press conference that he couldn’t be happier to finally be back in front of the Big Blue Nation again.

“It’s amazing. It’s phenomenal to be back,” he said. “Just to see the blue out there again, it’s incredible.”

And according to the 6-foot-10 center, there was no hesitancy when it came to his decision to suit up for Cousins’ team, knowing he’d be coming back to the city he once left on admittedly poor terms.

“[I told him that] he should have just told me I’m on the team, there’s no question at all,” Orton said. “He asked me if I would join, and I laughed and said, “Yeah, I’m with you.”‘

In Loyalty is Love’s victory on Friday night, Orton put up 11 points on 3-5 shooting to go with two rebounds and one blocked shot.

He will take the floor once again at 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

35 Comments for Kentucky basketball buries the hatchet with Daniel Orton

  1. BlueWho
    2:37 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    Welcome back Orton. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong…good on both sides for putting past aside and mending the fence.

  2. Underdog
    2:47 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink


    Welcome back. Glad you made it back home. XOXO.


  3. nocode96
    2:54 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    I’m happy to see this. Everyone wanting to bash him, ask yourself if you could’ve kept the focus on school with friends, family, and dirty agents telling you you’re about to be a millionaire. Then imagine believing the hype, and growing up, and realizing your mistake AND apologizing for it. What he did was the wrong choice, but he deserves forgiveness. Once a Cat, always a Cat.

    • 4everUKblue
      3:19 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      Very well said. Welcome back to the BBN Daniel!

    • Skooms
      9:08 am July 21, 2019 Permalink

      Nocode, color me impressed by that comment! Amen my Blue Brother!!

    • Ninjashock
      3:47 pm July 21, 2019 Permalink

      I mean, every single other player we’ve ever had under Cal managed it. I’ll forgive what he did but I’ll never forget it.

  4. UKFanSC
    3:01 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    Glad to have him back….. all family.

  5. indycatdog
    3:16 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    LaFamilia, Daniel, wish you’d stayed!

  6. A_Blue_Wildcat
    3:18 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    He doesn’t deserve it. Has had a garbage attitude everywhere he’s been and has burned more bridges than built. Had nothing to do with him leaving early when he wasn’t ready, but has all to do with how he treats everyone he comes into contact with. But everyone will just say the ol “he’s a good kid” bs when in reality he’s caused problems everywhere he’s been.

    • 4everUKblue
      3:20 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      It’s good to know you led a perfect mistake free life, we’ve been waiting for the second coming.

    • rdcore2
      3:51 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      My god you’re a douch e bag

    • nocode96
      3:57 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      Imagine being such a c.nt that you’re bitter and hold grudges against a teenaged boy you’ve never even met. What a horrible life that would be.

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      4:19 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      He a good kid, he was just a little kid when we was bad now he good boy, you a bad man for pointing out mistakes. Literally all of your responses.

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      4:24 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      Also nocode96, he’s been kicked off multiple teams overseas as a grown adult, not a “teenage boy” you idiot.

    • 4everUKblue
      4:27 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      Since our responses went right over your head, what we are saying is that he made some bad decisions in his youth, not that he was a bad kid but that everyone….yes everyone, even you blue wildcat, deserve forgiveness in spite of your perfect, mistake free life. Still you may need to ask for forgiveness at some point in your perfect life.

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      4:48 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      Except I never said he was garbage because of his youth, I said he’s garbage because he still is today. He’s been kicked out of multiple professional leagues overseas because of his bad attitude and how he treats others. Whether it be for starting fights or insulting an entire league, those are actions being done by a grown man, not someone in their youth. What cracks me up the most is that a few years ago there was an article posted on KSR about Orton getting kicked off a Philippines team because he called the league a joke and the entire comment section on that article was saying pretty much the same thing that I’m saying now. If he was a Louisville, Duke, or Indiana player we’d be making fun of this whole situation. I don’t even care about the UK situation with him at this point, it’s just a joke to act like he’s a changed man.

    • 4everUKblue
      4:54 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      And you know what’s inside his heart, that he hasn’t changed since those situations, that he has no regrets, has learned nothing from his mistakes? Not only have you lived a perfect mistake free life but now you’ve revealed that you have the power to see inside other peoples souls, you truly are the second coming and an idiot.

    • TPACAT
      5:12 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      This moral relevancy concept is ridiculous. So, only if A_Blue has lived a pristine life is he allowed to (rightfully) criticize Orton?

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      5:00 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      Yes because you have to live a perfect life to point out hypocrisy and people being fake. You can’t point out anyone who has a bad attitude unless you’re jesus. Absolutely brilliant point. Next time a Louisville or Duke player gets arrested or does something bad just remember they’re actually good boys and you’re not allowed to criticize them because you have to be omnipotent to point out attitude problems.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:02 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      See here’s the thing, lots of people make the same mistakes over and over again in their life, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be forgiven.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:03 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      I have yet to see a dUKe or UL player apologize for anything, let me know when you do holy one.

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      5:06 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      Jahlil Okafor apologized for getting into a fist fight with someone on the street, everyone on this site that saw it laughed at it, including myself. If you really think none of them gave a half-assed apology like this one then you’re blind.

    • Soylentbeans
      5:57 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      Had okafor been in any more trouble since? Serious question don know the answer.

    • ukkatzfan
      10:04 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      ABW, you have been given multiple chances to back off your dumba$$ comments. But NOOOO !!! You keep sticking that foot in your mouth. You gonna wake up with Athlete’s Foot in Your Mouth. That there is just plumb stupid. Hahahahaha

    • John Capilari
      5:39 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

      I agree 100%. I don’t understand everyone else’s combative responses.

    • 4everUKblue
      12:18 am July 21, 2019 Permalink

      Yes Bule wildcat, Okafor was staggering drunk and got into a fist fight with someone half his size, ok that’s one. I didn’t laugh at that, bullies never pick on anyone their size. But again, it’s good to know you’ve never made any mistakes in your perfect life but I forgive you for being a jackass, I guess it was your upbringing, totally not your fault.

    • 4everUKblue
      12:22 am July 21, 2019 Permalink

      Nothing wrong with pointing it out but to refuse to forgive someone who made a few mistakes in life is usually someone who would rather look at someone else’s transgressions than their own. It’s much easier isn’t it blue wildcat? I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life, not ashamed to admit it, so you can call me garbage now too, I forgive you.

  7. Ridge Runner
    3:34 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    Cool, being humble and honest with regret is all anyone can do. I’m good with that. It’s over.

    • UKFanSC
      3:59 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink


  8. sportsbird66
    8:04 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    Welcome home

  9. michaelb
    8:45 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    He could really show how apologetic he is by returning to get his degree … since it’s free anyway why not . He realizes more these days it will come in handy

  10. RealCatsFan
    11:17 pm July 20, 2019 Permalink

    It’s funny, but one of my most lasting memories of Orton was when he landed hard and was writhing on the court. It wasn’t serious, thankfully, but he did drop an f bomb or two that was clearly evident. But what made it kind of funny was the video someone posted – they used their phone to recorde the TV playing it, and one of their kids screamed in the background right as Orton opened his mouth to yell. It made it look like he was screaming like a little girl. 🙂

  11. njcat54
    2:15 am July 21, 2019 Permalink

    My biggest memory of Orton was when he completely lost it on the bench and had to be dragged to the locker room by Kenny Payne.

    Interesting that he ‘just missed Cal’.

  12. mapcatfan
    10:09 am July 21, 2019 Permalink

    Welcome home, Daniel. For me, the issue was over long ago. #BBN

  13. TheBigBlueNick32
    11:05 am July 21, 2019 Permalink

    Glad to see Kentucky open up to receiving a player they had been at odds with.