Michael Orris Has Illini Scholarship Offer

The point guard position is a spot Illinois would like to fill with a scholarship in 2012. They have looked long and hard to find the right fit, including several out-of-state options. Last Thursday, Illini coach Bruce Weber offered a scholarship to Crete-Monee point guard Michael Orris.

Michael Orris is a point guard from Crete-Monee High School and a member of the class of 2012. He has received interest from a range of mid-major schools, but Illinois has stepped up to the plate with a scholarship offer.

This is significant because the Fighting Illini may only take two players in this class. There has been much speculation about finding a "pure point" for that scholarship to compliment the wings and combo guards already on the roster. Orris's high school coach Matt Ryndak believes his junior fits this description.

"He is a pure old-school point guard. He knows how to get people the ball and where they need to get it. He is the guy on the floor that makes the other four guys better.

He is a tough defender and can knock down the mid-range game with consistency. He is not the flashiest kid you will see or put up the biggest numbers in the world because that is not important to him. He wants to get his teammates the ball where they need to get it and run a team.

You don't see throwback guards like him anymore, but I experienced first hand what having one will do for your team. We had some talented kids this year, but to have the straw that can stir it all together is invaluable."

The offer occurred while Orris was on an unofficial visit to the Illinois campus Thursday. Coach Ryndak talked about Orris's reaction to the offer.

"He was happy and excited. I mean, it is Illinois! With that said, he has some other things he wants to look at, see and compare. You're talking about Big 10 basketball, a program that has had success and one of the top 10 public educations in the country."

According to his coach, Orris really likes what he has seen out of Illinois and has built a good relationship with the coaching staff.

"He wanted to see them first. He really has liked coach Weber throughout the process. Coach Weber has done a really good job. Now with Michael, it is just a matter of processing everything to decide the fit he is looking for. There is a lot that really intrigues him about Illinois.

The staff has been tremendous. It started with coach (Jerrance) Howard, who was the first one to initially see Michael. Then coach (Jay) Price did his thing and coach Weber took over from there."

Many have speculated this will end quickly. Ryndak says they are going to go through the process, but his point guard will not be on the board by the end of the summer.

"Michael wants to see certain things, and I am encouraging him to see certain things in regards to other schools that are recruiting him. Ultimately, he is going to have to figure out what he wants and is looking for. Once he sees everything, he can process it all.

Do I think this will go through the summer? Absolutely not. Will this happen in the next week or two? Probably not either."

Ryndak discussed some of the other schools the Crete-Monee point guard is considering.

"Drake, UIC, UW-Green Bay, Butler, Creighton, William and Mary and Minnesota have called in."

Visits to several of those other contending schools are in the works.

"Those are all being worked out. He wanted to see Illinois first to have a means of comparison for the rest of it. We have stuff in the works to see Creighton, Williams and Mary, and will be talking to the Butler coaches in the upcoming days. He wanted to make sure he saw Illinois first because the coaching staff has done an amazing job."

Ryndak talked about how Orris played for his team this past season.

"Excellent. He was tremendous. He helped lead us to a 25-4 record and win the first ever sectional championship in the history of our high school. He runs the show.

The best part is, as the season went on his jump shot continued to get better and more consistent. He ended up leading us in three point percentage. He is a rock on the floor and is tough physically and mentally."

The point guard has played one event with the Derrick Rose All-Stars, but the AAU circuit is not going to be his focus.

"We are at a different point in this process, where he has to start seeing schools. His focus right now is the college process and getting better. If AAU has to take a back seat in the next couple weeks, so be it. That is what we are shooting for right now. Making sure he gets out and sees things that he needs to."

It sounds like Orris possesses the skill set and attributes the Illini coaching staff and fans are looking for in the guard they would like to bring in for the class of 2012.

"Coach Weber said he thought the intangibles that Michael brings to the table were what they are looking for. I know he is a fit for what they need. Now the question is what he wants to do with it."

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