Interview with Coach Kevin Orr (Rice Lake)

At the WBBY Shootout, I was able to interview Rice Lake head coach Kevin Orr about his star player Henry Ellenson. I asked Coach Orr about the defenses that Henry has faced including Box and One, double teams and triple teams. I wanted to learn more about Marquette's Coaching staff making Henry a priority as soon as they were hired last April. Coach Orr also coached Henry's older brother Wally.

John Dodds: Tonight Tosa West played a box in 1 on Henry Ellenson. What defenses have you seen this year?

Coach Orr: So far this year we have seen a lot of zone and a lot of man-to-man with a double and triple team Henry. Tonight was the first time we saw a pure box in 1. We had open shots. We just didn’t hit them.

JD: There is a new coaching staff at Marquette, Steve Wojciechowski who was hired last April. When did he first contact you?

Orr: I thought Coach Wojciechowski did an unbelievable job from day one he got in contact with me. That is saying a lot about him wanting to get to know Henry. That says a lot about the type of guy Coach is.

[Coach Wojciechowski and his staff reacted like this when Henry Ellenson committed to Marquette.]

JD: When you have a top 10 player nationally, how do you work to improve his skill set but also work to improve the team? Do you do anything special?

Orr: The cool thing about Henry is that he is a real coachable kid. He wants to learn and get better. He is constantly in the gym improving his game. He works on handling the ball, how he shoots the ball. He has the drive. There are a lot of hours spent in the gym. He wants to be the best in the country and he has that passion and that is great to see.

JD: What is he working on specifically to improve his game? He is a big man with a handle (for the ball). That is an unusual combination.

Orr: I don’t know if he is working on anything specifically. I think he is working on his ball handling and on his outside shooting and his post moves. Each day he works on something a little different and he is constantly trying to get better.

JD: Was there one moment or one thing that he has done where you just kind of stepped back and said, wow?

Orr: It’s just his overall attitude. I am trying to savor the season and enjoy it. You just don’t get those kinds of athletes very often. And then to have a kid who is so humble and so coachable and just a good guy. It makes it really enjoyable.

JD: Did you also coach his older brother Wally at Rice Lake?

Orr: I coached both of his brothers. Wally is a great kid. He is a very hard working kid who loves the game of basketball. He really loves Coach Wojciechowski and is really excited about playing for him. He loves how he is progressing. I know Coach Wojo has him shooting a lot (during his year out). They are excited about him at Marquette. I think Wally is going to have a great future at Marquette.

JD: What is his skill set? He is sitting out a year and Marquette fans won’t be able to see him other than at a few open practices.

Orr: Obviously, he is one heck of an athlete. He high jumps well and is tops in the country. He is a great leaper, solid defender. I know they are really working on his sho oting. They are very happy with that combo. He is a slasher and a good athlete. I think he is going to do a great job there.

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