The Illinois coaching staff made getting a 2012 point guard a priority. They have reached their goal today by landing Michael Orris. Orris is a solid all-around point guard who looks to set up his teammates, but he is also effective getting to the hoop and knocking down mid-range jumpers. Orris talks about why he pulled the trigger for Illinois.
"I just knew it was right. It is an hour and a half away from my family. It is a big school with 15,000 people every night. It is a great basketball situation I am walking into with me and Tracy Abrams. It is great academically and socially. The way I connected with the coaching staff and team, I know I will fit in great. I couldn't be more excited about it. I want to be there now!"
How did the commitment go down Sunday morning?
"Coach Weber said we want kids that want to come here. I wanted to go there. He offered me a scholarship, and I said, ‘yes, I want to come here and play for you.' After that we went out to brunch with all the coaches."
Orris walks Illini fans through his visit to Champaign this weekend.
"We got there Friday night about 6:30 pm and checked into the hotel. Coach (Wayne) McClain picked us up. We went out to dinner with the team and the coaches. I had a great time. After dinner, the guys and I went bowling and hung out. Meyers Leonard and I hung out at his place. We relaxed and got to know each other better.
"Saturday, we went to the football game. At halftime we all went to play open gym. We ran the table in open gym. It was great to play with the guys. We really connected on the court and off the court. I loved playing with Myers and everyone.
"Today we woke up and went to brunch and got everything finalized. So I am committed to play basketball at the University of Illinois. It is great, and I am excited.
"Last night we were at coach Weber's house, and it was awesome to see how big of a family atmosphere they have and how the coaches interact with the players. It really stuck out to me. Now I am a part of their family, and it is awesome!"
The Illinois coaching staff sold Orris on being part of Illini Nation.
"Coach (Jay) Price has been doing a lot of the recruiting, but Coach Weber has been involved just as much. He is awesome, and I can't wait to play under him. I think I am going to be successful under him.
Coach (Jerrance) Howard is a riot! Coach (Chester) Frazier and I connected because he has that competitive edge where he doesn't want to lose like me. Coach McClain is awesome. He is like the father of the team. Coach Price and (Sean) Harrington are great. I really connected with all of the coaches by hanging out with them all weekend."
The current players, especially Leonard, played a large role in his commitment.
"I got to be with the whole team. We all talked and all connected. We all developed a relationship. They played a huge role. Meyers and I really connected. I joked with him a little about not going to the NBA after this year so he can play with me. On the court we really connected and played well."
He talks about his role with the Illini.
"Nothing is going to be handed to me. I can't wait to come in there. It is a great opportunity. With Tracy and I being the only point guards on the roster it is a great chance for me, but I know nothing is given. I can't wait for that challenge.
I see myself contributing right away as a freshman. I know I can do that. I see myself scoring when needed and setting up my teammates in the best place to be successful by knowing when and where to get them the ball. The biggest thing I bring to the table is leadership and the desire to win at all costs."
How is his relationship with Abrams?
"We really hit it off. We had great conversations. I can't wait to play with him. I don't look at it like I have to beat out Tracy because we can play at the same time. We both have different skill sets."
It is a relief for Orris to have this over finally!
"It feels great! There are so many emotions. I am so excited and happy. At the same time, I am relieved that it is all over and I can focus on my high school season and have a great senior year."
What is your message to Illini fans?
"A lot of people doubt me. I think a lot of people that know the game of basketball know that I will be very successful at the University of Illinois. There are a lot of people who doubt my abilities.
I want to say I am the hardest working kid out there and I am going to fight for everything. Nothing is going to be given to me. I am going to go take it. I am excited to play at the University of Illinois and be with those guys. We are going to be really good in the next couple years. I can't wait for that!"