With only one scholarship open, Illinois wasn’t going to get quantity. But Bruce Weber added a point guard Wednesday who has a chance to provide quality.
The lone signee, Michael Orris, is a 6-2 playmaker from Crete-Monee who brings a different look than freshman Tracy Abrams.
Calling Orris ‘‘the best point guard in the state of Illinois,” Weber described him as a gym rat who’s always coaching up his teammates, and is very content to pass the ball. And Weber expects him to assume a significant role quickly.
‘‘He has the maturity and competitive spirit and toughness. He’ll make a push right away,” the coach said. ‘‘With our guard situation a year from now, Tracy gives us the toughness, the physicality kind of a bulldog point guard. Michael is a little more cerebral.”
Orris averaged 10.2 points and 6.2 assists last season, helping Crete-Monee (25-4) to its first sectional championship.
Orris, who played his first two prep years at Palatine, might even be bringing along a friend. Mike LaTulip, a 6-foot guard from Prospect who is a pal of Orris, turned down some mid-major offers for the opportunity to become a preferred walk-on at Illinois.
Orris originally committed to Creighton because he apparently preferred a smaller school. But he decommitted last spring and agreed to come to Illinois in September.
‘‘He loves to play; he plays all the time,” Weber said. ‘‘I don’t know if he’s ever answered the phone straight up when I’ve called him.”
Beyond his smarts and enthusiasm, Weber likes Orris’ hard-nosed approach.
‘‘Off the court, Michael’s a good quality kid,” Weber said. ‘‘But when he gets on the court, he has a little feistiness to him, which is always a positive thing. We’re really pleased.”