Training with younger sister helps Daniel Orozco’s outside game

By Jeff Vorva

Daniel Orozco is a deadly 3-point shooter on the basketball court. The Hinsdale Central senior has made his mark beyond the arc and, at times, makes it look effortless.

But someone who is that good usually has to work at it. That’s where his younger sister, Riley, comes in.
When Daniel was growing up, he would take shot after shot after shot in the driveway or, when it was too cold, the Lifetime gym. Riley, who is four years younger, would rebound and throw the ball back to him to help keep the practices going efficiently.

“I would always shoot with my sister and work on my form,” he said. “And it’s stayed with me at this point.”
Let it be known that Riley was more than just a gofer during these practice sessions. Daniel said he did his fair share of rebounding for her as well, and it’s paying off for both as she is a strong eighth-grade player at Hinsdale Middle School, and he predicts someday she could be good enough to play college ball.

As for Daniel and his post-high school basketball career?

As of early February, that was still a fluid situation as he was looking for a good business school where he could still hoop it up but he conceded there was a possibility he could give the sport up if the right situation didn’t present itself. His dream job would be as an investment banker.

Meanwhile, he and another sibling, Dillon, were able to play together during the 2023-24 basketball campaign. Daniel was connecting on long-distance bombs and receiving accolades – including being named to the 16-team Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team. He averaged 17 points per game in the tournament.

Prior to the season, he had a 28-point performance with six 3-point baskets in a Greater Purpose Athletic fall league game, causing the training facility to post, “Made some impressive plays off the dribble against taller defenders. Efficient 3 level scoring guard,” on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Orozco still managed to enjoy the season even if the team didn’t post gaudy numbers. The 2022-23 team had an unbelievable senior class, and the Red Devils went 31-4, setting a school record for victories. With the top seven players graduating, it was going to be hard to come close to anything like that.

All-in-all, it’s a team sport, and that’s what I like about this team. I don’t think anyone takes credit for anything.

– Daniel Orozco

But when the team came up with a huge summer showing, including going unbeaten in their bracket at Riverside-Brookfield, there was some hope for fans for a winning season. But playing a killer schedule didn’t help the record, as the Red Devils were 11-13 through January.

“It’s definitely been a big change, that’s for sure,” Orozco said, comparing the two seasons. “Most of the games we lost came down to the wire in the fourth quarter. I think there are a lot of little things that we could have done better. Loose balls. Turnovers. Missed shots.”

As a senior leader, he had his work cut out for him. But even through the tough losses, Orozco said the team was fun to be around.

“We all just tried to stay together,” he said. “Win or lose, we were very connected as a team. We were always going out for food. We would go to each other’s houses to bond and stay connected. That was the best part of that.”

Earlier in his athletic career, Orozco was a strong runner at Hinsdale Middle School as he won the Hinsdale Central feeder school meet in 2019 as an eighth grader. He won by more than 17 seconds in an event with five local schools and 215 competitors. He also finished fifth when he was in seventh grade.

But basketball became a big sport for him in high school and if Orozco does give up the sport, he will miss it.

“I just love being with a team,” he said. “All-in-all, it’s a team sport, and that’s what I like about this team. I don’t think anyone takes credit for anything. I like the bonding aspect of it. How many wins or losses we have, it’s a team sport and I love being with other people.” ■