Michael Orris felt he developed good relationships with the Northern Illinois coaching staff when he was being recruited out of Crete-Monee High School, where he was a double-digit scorer.
Orris ended up going to Kansas State, but things just didn’t work out his freshman year, and Orris and Wildcats coach Bruce Weber thought it would be better for him to find a different situation.
When Orris, a 6-2 guard, looked for another school, he got in touch with Huskies assistant coach Jon Borovich, who recruited him at Crete-Monee. When he re-opened his recruiting, that rapport was still there.
“I developed a really good relationship with [Borovich], and developed a good relationship with coach Mark Montgomery was well,” Orris told the Daily Chronicle. “It was hands down a perfect fit for me and being able to get on campus and seeing everything, seeing how they operate … It seemed like the right thing.”
Orris also said his AAU coach, Scott Lidskin, has been pivotal in his recruiting ever since he’s been in high school, and helped him with his decision to come to Northern.
“He’s an integral part of everything,” Orris said. “I owe him so much.”
Orris originally signed with Illinois, but was granted his release after Bruce Weber was fired following the 2011-12 season. He proceeded to follow Weber to Kansas State, where he had four points and seven assists in 49 minutes for the Wildcats his freshman year. As a senior at Crete-Monee, Orris averaged 11 points and four assists and was an honorable mention Class 4A All-State selection.
“We are really looking forward to having Michael Orris join the Huskie basketball family,” Montgomery said in a news release. “Michael is the consummate team player. He is a hard-nosed competitor and a tough defender with a great feel for the game. He is a heady guard who can make plays for others but can also score and get to the rim.”
NIU has won just 10 games the past two seasons combined. The recent lack of success doesn’t bother Orris, who feels Montgomery will be able to turn things around in DeKalb.
“If anyone can do it, he can. He knows how to win,” Orris said. “He’s been at Michigan State, he was there for 10 years. ... He knows what it takes to win. These last few years in coaching were the only losing seasons he had.”
Orris, who won’t be eligible until the 2014-15 season, is one of four new players who will enter the Huskies program next season, joining Dowagiac, Mich. guard Dontel Highsmith and brothers Aaron and Aaric Armstead, who both played prep ball at Hales Franciscan in Chicago.
Aaron Armstead played at Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2011-12 and spent the 2012-13 season at San Jose City College. Aaric Armstead played at La Jolla (Calif.) prep this past season.
Orris has been good friends with Aaric Armstead since his high school days, which was also a factor in his decision to head to DeKalb.
“Aaric is one of my best friends,” Orris said. “It’s funny because we always talked about going to a school together and doing something big.”