Boys Basketball: Michael Orris released from Illinois commitmentMichael Orris, of Crete-Monee, gets the easy lay up against Rich South at Rich South, Tuesday, Febuary 7th, 2012 in Richton Park, IL. l Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 13, 2012 6:40PM
Crete-Monee senior Michael Orris requested and received a release from his letter of intent to Illinois on Friday and has begun his third search for a Division I basketball program.
Orris, a 6-3 point guard, was the only member of former Illini coach Bruce Weber’s final recruiting class. He committed to Weber in September of 2011 after previously committing to Creighton.
Weber was fired March 9 and replaced by John Groce on March 29. On that day, Orris’ father, Bill, told the SouthtownStar, “We’re hoping as a family that we’re going to be getting a phone call from him and setting up a meeting ... because we want to meet him and get to know him.”
That meeting took place April 4.
“We drove down (to Champaign), we met in his office for over two hours, we had lunch with him and he’s staff — coach Groce is a wonderful man,” Bill Orris said Friday. “We left, drove home, and it was quiet in the car. Michael finally said, ‘Dad, mom, I don’t think it’s going to be a fit.’ ’’
The decision had as much to do with Orris’ relationship with Weber as matters of playing style.
“You know how close they were,” Bill Orris said, “how much they used to talk together during the week. ... This was hard for us.”
And, apparently, for Groce.
“When we called him to start the process, he wasn’t expecting it,” Bill Orris said. “But, coach Groce said, ‘I want your heart to be here.’ ’’
Orris averaged 11 points and four assists per game as a senior. As a junior, he was a member of the SouthtownStar All-Area team, averaging 10 points and 6.3 assists in his first season after transferring from Palatine.
As a junior, Orris played for Matt Ryndak, the then-Crete-Monee coach who pleaded guilty in November to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor.
With Ryndak guiding his recruitment, Orris committed to Creighton in May of 2011. He decommitted from that school two months later, after Ryndak’s charges came to light.
The recruiting process this time, Bill Orris said, should be quick.
“We hope for this not to be a long process,” he said.
Michael Orris’ AAU coach, Scott Lidskin, is coordinating the recruiting. He is a member of the staff at Glenbrook North, where Bruce Weber’s brother, Dave, is the head coach. Bruce Weber was hired as Kansas State’s coach on March 31.