One of the first things Michael Orris did after being released from the Illinois basketball program last month was take a visit to Kansas State.
The 6-foot-2 point guard from Chicago, who had already de-committed from Creighton, didn’t want to draw out his recruitment any longer than he had to. He liked Bruce Weber at Illinois, and he figured that wouldn’t change now that Weber was coaching the Wildcats.
After seeing Manhattan up close, he was sold. He signed a letter of intent Wednesday.
“When I was there I liked the campus. They have very nice people, and it’s in a very big college basketball town,” Orris said by phone. “With Coach Weber there, all that kind of just seemed to be the right fit for me.
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“Coach Weber, he is an amazing guy. We built an amazing relationship all through my junior year and then my senior year, too. His personality is very people oriented. There is just something that draws you close to him.”
Orris, who averaged 12 points and four assists as a senior for Crete-Monee High, plans on joining the Wildcats this summer to prepare for next season. He’ll compete for playing time with Angel Rodriguez and Will Spradling in the backcourt.
He is most excited about stepping into Weber’s motion offense. K-State’s returning players are accustomed to a much different offensive look with former coach Frank Martin, but he considers it the ideal offense for his game.
“I’m a pass-first, old-school point guard,” Orris said. “I want to help my teammates score because, bottom line, I want to win. That’s what I do. The point guard is normally the leader on the team, and has a lot of responsibilities.
“He should know every position on every set that you run so he knows how to get the other players the ball. That’s my job.”
Orris credited his AAU coach, Scott Lidskin, for guiding him through the end of his recruitment.
“Michael is a pure point guard,” Lidskin said. “He can score if he needs to but would rather get his teammates involved. He is a tough nose defender who loves to dive on the floor.”
With Orris signed, K-State will have to make room to get him on scholarship. The Wildcats entered the offseason with one available scholarship and used it to sign St. Louis big man Darrell Johnson. That means one of its current players will have to transfer or move to walk-on status.
Orris said K-State’s coaching staff didn’t discuss those details with him. But associate head coach Chris Lowery called him earlier this week and told him, “We’re getting this done. We are offering you a scholarship.”
That was welcome news for Orris.
“It’s been a whirlwind to say the least,” Orris said. “It feels good to finally be done with it. I’ve been blessed along the way with many different things. I can say I’m an expert on how these things works, and that I ended up in a good place.”