September 15, 2011

Illini: the week that was

The Illini landed 2012 point guard Michael Orris from Crete Monee on Sunday, following his official visit to the Illinois campus. Then on Monday, 2013 wing guard Malcolm Hill pulled the trigger and committed to the Fighting Illini. It was a hectic two days in Illini recruiting, but now that the dust has settled, how do Hill and Orris fit into the Illinois program?

Orris Goes First
The Illinois coaching staff felt that they needed to add a point guard in the class of 2012 to alleviate some concerns they have about future ball handling. Yes, Tracy Abrams will be a sophomore and should get some seasoning this year as a Freshman, however he is the only confident ball handler on the squad in 2012-13. That meant they had to go the point guard route with their only available scholarship in 2012.
The question then became, who can they get? There were 3 main targets, and a few auxiliary ones, that emerged during the summer, and after Semaj Christon committed to Xavier it left Terry Rozier and Orris as the two front runners. Rozier had agreat July and became widely coveted by fans and media, however he had two major issues from an Illinois standpoint. Louisville was his dream school, and once the cardinals offered it was likely he was going there. The other issue was would he be eligible to play as a freshman? There were some questions, and so despite his talents Illinois couldn't afford to take a chance.
That left Orris. Illinois was concerned because he had spurned the Illini earlier this summer and committed to Creighton, but there were extenuating circumstances there. Clearly, however, Illinois wanted to get it done quickly. They moved the Orris visit up to September 10th from the 24th, hoping to see how he interacted with the current players and wrap things up before he took any other visits. That's exactly what happened, and the Illini nabbed their first commitment of 2012.

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