By Joe Henricksen
After a bit of a whirlwind, with a commitment last spring to Creighton and a de-commitment this past summer, Crete-Monee's Michael Orris has ended his recruitment by verballing to Illinois on Sunday. The 6-2 point guard snaps up the lone scholarship coach Bruce Weber has to offer in the Class of 2012.
Orris had recently been offered by Nebraska and visited Lincoln last week. He also had made a trip to Boston College. But a trip to Champaign this past weekend sealed the deal.
"I just knew it when I was there," said Orris on his way back from Champaign on Sunday. "This time around I saw things differently than the first time I went through this. The campus is an hour and a half away. It's in the Big Ten. And playing for my state school with the fan base they have is very appealing to me."
What won Orris over, however, was the immediate connection he had with the players in the program. This was his third trip to the campus and had built relationships with the team and coaching staff.
"The family atmosphere there is unbelievable," Orris pointed out. "Just being around those guys and connecting with the players and the coaches was something very different from the other places I had visited. Overall, when you combine what Illinois has to offer academically, socially and basketball wise, it's the best situation for me."
The No. 7 ranked prospect in the Hoops Report's Class of 2012 player rankings is a pure, run-your-team point guard. While Orris may not have the ideal athleticism or bring true scoring ability to the backcourt, he does offer a variety of intangibles that are sometimes difficult to find.
He has good size and strength, sees the floor very well and excites any coach he plays for with the intangibles he brings to the floor, including leadership qualities you can't teach. Orris is a selfless player who is all about winning and putting team goals first. If basketball I.Q. were a measurable statistic, Orris would have been one of the state's leaders this past season.
Orris led Crete-Monee to its best season in school history this past season. The Warriors won a school record 25 wins and won their first sectional championship in school history.
Illinois Spot-Lite Showcase this weekend
Illinois Spot Lite's annual Fall Showcase for Illinois high school basketball prospects will be this Sunday at Ackerman Sports & Fitness in Glen Ellyn. Games will begin at 11 a.m. and run throughout the day. There are still openings for players. For more information, contact Larry Butler at (708)-574-2457.