By Joe Henricksen
A visit to Omaha this week was apparently enough to end the recruiting surge that was hitting Crete-Monee's Michael Orris. The 6-3 junior guard, who received a high-major offer from Illinois recently, committed to coach Greg McDermott and Creighton on Sunday.
"I didn't expect the process to go this quickly, but it just hit me when I was on my visit that this was the place," said Orris. "I just felt it. You can't really explain the feeling I had while I was on my visit."
Orris said he was looking for a combination of "big-time basketball and strong academics with a small school atmosphere academically." He's certain he found both at Creighton.
"From a basketball standpoint, Creighton provides that big-time atmosphere with 17,000 fans and it just feels like a basketball school," Orris said. "The Creighton fans are passionate about their basketball. Also, academically it's strong and small, where you're not just a number. That's what I was looking for academically. It really is the best of both worlds for me when it comes to basketball and academics."
Orris, who is among the top dozen prospects in the Class of 2012, led Crete-Monee to 25 wins and the school's first-ever sectional title this past season. He averaged 10.2 points and 6.2 assists a game, but his presence and overall floor game is what was so impressive. Creighton, who just recently jumped into the Orris recruitment, has locked up a pure point guard who is tough, poised, sees the floor and will run a team.
Creighton finished this past season with 23 wins, picking up four wins in the CBI postseason tournament. But the Bluejays return their top three leading scorers, including freshman Doug McDermott, the team's leading scorer and son of the head coach.
McDermott's son, in fact, played a big part in helping Orris come closer to a decision. He hit it off with both McDermotts -- both coach and player -- while on his visit.
"I absolutely hit it off with their players, especially Doug McDermott," Orris said. "And coach McDermott is a great man who has a good track record."
In addition to the Creighton and Illinois offers, Orris was recruited by the likes of Wichita State, UIC, William & Mary, Drake, Butler, Missouri State, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Minnesota.