Boys Basketball: Crete-Monee’s Michael Orris visits Kansas StateCrete-Monee's Michael Orris (33). | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 14, 2012 4:20PM
One day after being released from his letter of intent to Illinois, Crete-Monee senior Michael Orris flew to Manhattan, Kansas, on Saturday to make an official visit with Kansas State and ex-Fighting Illini coach Bruce Weber.
But, Orris’ AAU coach cautioned against assuming Orris-to-Kansas State was a done deal.
“Obviously, you’re going to think it’s a done deal with his relationship with Bruce Weber,” Scott Lidskin said Saturday. “But what if he doesn’t like the campus? What if he doesn’t like the players? I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent.”
Lidskin confimed that he’d been in contact with several other schools on Friday evening, including Pittsburgh, Boston College, Valparaiso, Wichita State, Wisconsin-Green Bay and UIC.
It was a whirlwind beginning to Orris’ third search for a Division I basketball program.
The 6-foot-3 point guard was the only member of Weber’s final Illinois recruiting class. He committed to Weber in September after previously committing to Creighton.
Weber was fired March 9 and replaced by John Groce on March 29. On that date 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 his 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 4 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.
As a junior, Orris played for Matt Ryndak, the then-Crete-Monee coach who would plead guilty in November 2011 to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor.
With Ryndak guiding his recruitment, Orris committed to Creighton in May 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.