Michael Orris is a 23 year old 190cm guard from Crete, Illinios that recently finished his professional rookie season with Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (NBA G League) playing 15 games averaging 2.0ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.3apg, in Mar.’18 signed at Fort Wayne Mad Ants (NBA G League) playing 5 games averaging 1.8ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.6apg. He got NCAA experience at three schools at Kansas State (NCAA) playing 15 games and Northern Illinois (NCAA) playing 63 games and as a senior played at South Dakota State (NCAA) playing 24 games averaging 8.1ppg, 1.9rpg, 4.0apg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 67.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Michael thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you been enjoying your summer so far?
No, thank you! I am currently living in Indianapolis, IN and recently engaged! So I would have to say my summer is going great so far!
After getting your feet wet in the G-League for two teams you now want to continue your professional career. Are your sights now to Europe more?
Honestly, I am weighing every option and just waiting to see what the next best position is for me. Whether that is overseas or back in the G League, I don’t know. But I am open to where ever God places me next.
After a tough NCAA career at Kansas State and Northern Illinois you did finish strong at South Dakota State. Did your experience in the G-League have you lose some faith in you continuing to progress as a professional there and have you focus more on giving Europe a shot?
My career has been nothing but tough and having to have faith to persevere. Playing in the NBA G League was one of the greatest experiences of my life and it helped me grow as a professional and as a player more than anything could have. It helped me gain confidence knowing that I can play at the highest level in the world. I would love to compete in Europe if given the opportunity, just have to wait and see what happens.
As a guy that is a pass first point guard that knows how to run a team well. How convinced are you that you game will be able to aid teams in Europe where teams play that team orientated basketball already?
I think my game translates extremely well to the European style of play. I have many friends that have played over there and they have all said the same thing. I am a proven winner, leader, and floor general that can run a team with the best of them. I always pride myself on being an extension of the coaches on the floor and a player that will do anything asked of him in order to win.
What are your biggest strengths on the court besides being a team first player and playmaker?
Being a leader and doing all of the little things, intangible things that don’t show up on a stat sheet. Also, my basketball IQ and knowing the game. I pride myself on studying the game and being very sharp out on the court. Along with that, my vision is something that has gotten me really far in this sport. Being able to see the floor and think 2 to 3 passes ahead, like I am playing chess.
Talk a little about your rookie season. You were briefly in Iceland where you were forced to shoot. How important was this short experience for you? Do you feel like without having had that and having got that confidence back again that your G-League time may never have happened or gone differently had you not had that Iceland experience?
Iceland was great me for in many different ways. It definitely taught me a lot during my time there. It was awesome being able to have no worries in the world besides shooting every time I touched the ball, it was very different for me but I loved it and it helped my game tremendously.
What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Iceland where you knew that you were very far away from home in Illinois?
I don’t think i had a wake up call in that sense, I have always been fine being away from home and I love adventuring to new things. The wake up call was probably how different the basketball was over there compared to back home.
You split your rookie season with Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (NBA G League) playing 15 games averaging 2.0ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.3apg, in Mar.’18 signed at Fort Wayne Mad Ants (NBA G League) playing 5 games averaging 1.8ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.6apg. You had a chance with the Clippers playing some games where people could see your game. Against Santa Cruz you played 34 minutes dishing out 12 assists and against Austin played 37 minutes getting 9 points. Do you feel like you used your chance as best as you could there?
This is a tough question for me and something not easy to answer. I say that because I felt like I had everything I ever asked for when I was playing with the Agua Caliente Clippers but didn’t fully maximize the position I was in. Don’t get me wrong, I did some really good things and earned everything I was given. I had some great games that definitely helped my career. But being the strict personal critic that I am, it wasn’t good enough for my own standards. Overall, a huge learning experience that holds a lot of weight for my career going forward.
Head coach Casey Hill gave you a chance with the Ontario Clippers telling you he would throw you in the fire. Were there any special tips you remember him giving you that in the long run helped your game?
Coach Hill was one of the best coaches I have ever had. He was awesome. He knew my situation and his for that matter and he was nothing but supportive in every way. He helped my transition be smooth and gave me every opportunity to perform.
You finished at Fort Wayne and after getting 25 minutes in your first game against Delaware you then played three games in a row getting only two minutes. How do you summarize your brief stay there?
Fort Wayne was also awesome, I loved it. We had a great group of guys and I got to learn so much from some really experienced players. It is tough not playing but I came into a team where there were already guys ahead of me in my position and there was only a month left in the season so things were pretty set in stone. But I wouldn’t take away my experience there for anything in the world. Such a great organization and a fun place to play.
You then played at the G-League Showcase. How did that go for you and with what feelings did that leave you as you prepare for your second professional season?
The G League showcase was such an amazing experience. Playing against the best of the best in front of every NBA executive and scouts was definitely a fun and exciting experience. It showed me how high level these players are and how fierce the competition is in the G League.
You started your college career at Kansas State in 2012. You hardly played there as the team had a lot of talent including future NBA player Rodney Mcgruder and talented Puerto Rican point guard Angel Rodriguez. Did you get any positives out of this year playing for Bruce Weber?
Funny you mentioned Rodney because he is a big brother to me, close friend of mine. I wouldn’t have made it through my year at Kansas State if it wasn’t for him. Again, that time of my life was yet another learning experience for me to grow as a man and as a player.
You then transferred to Northern Illinois where you officially played at from 2014-2016. You had to sit out the season before that due to transfer rules. How tough was that year for you? What kept you going and how did the constant metal games help your mentality?
Mentally sitting out for a year is tough but you have to learn to fall in love with developing and working on your game because that is all you have besides practice. It was a great year for me to learn and get better that I feel like I took full advantage of.
You played 62 games and never averaged more than 3,7ppg. You had some strong games with 18 points against Maine in a win and 11 points in a win against Ball State. Do you feel like Mark Montgomery lacked trust in your abilities?
Unfortunately, a lot of times in college, basketball players are put into a box as a player of what you can and can’t do or what you should or shouldn’t do. Playing at NIU challenged me more mentally than anything and I am grateful for my time spent there.
You then tried a job in the corporate world before taking a grad year at South Dakota State Did that off year prove to you that you have an extra ordinary special chip on your shoulder and desire to make as a player?
I went right to SDSU after NIU. It was after SDSU and Iceland where I found myself in the corporate world before being picked up in the NBA G League. That experience was extremely humbling and something I will never forget. But yes, there is definitely a massive chip on my shoulder.
You then played at South Dakota State (NCAA,) playing 24 games averaging 8.1ppg, 1.9rpg, 4.0apg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 67.6%. How thankful are you that you took this year? Do you ever wonder where you might be today had you not taken that year there?
Doing the graduate transfer saved my career, and saved my life in a lot of aspects. I was done with college basketball and wanted nothing to do with it because of my experiences but Coach TJ at SDSU was able to provide me with redemption and a year that is truly special to my heart, making up for all of the other years that didn’t go so well.
You hit one of the most memorable shots in South Dakota State history beating South Dakota 74-71. The shot wasn´t even designed for you. Do you ever look back at that moment just to give you added confidence especially with your shot?
That moment was something I will always remember. Such a special time. That feeling is something i will never forget and definitely has given me confidence.
What will be your fondest memory from reaching the NCAA tournament with South Dakota and what still stands out in your mind from then loss against Gonzaga?
The Gonzaga loss is a tough pill to swallow because of how well we played and how close we were to winning. If just a couple possessions went a different way, it would have been a completely different game. But I loved the experience and it was awesome playing in an environment like that.
How did head coach TJ Otzelberger help give you that last push in grooming and preparing you for a professional basketball career?
Words will never be able to describe what coach TJ did for me and my career. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude and he knows that. He believed in me and my abilities when no one else did and trusted me to run/lead his team. And in doing that, we got a conference championship and an NCAA tournament bid that we will remember forever.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Beau Brown?
This is an awesome question! Sitting here laughing as I type. Beau is a truly special person with a heart of gold and a work ethic that cannot be rivaled! He is a dear friend and someone that I have learned a lot from! But sorry Beau, I would have to beat you one on one! Haha
How does a summer work out day look like for Michel Orris in 2018? What type of drills do you do to help develop your shot further?
This summer has been very different for me because of my engagement to my beautiful fiance and us buying a house. I had to get a job on top of training. So, I wake up get some weight lifting in and then go to the court with my trainer to work on my game and then I get lunch and go to work the rest of the day/night! Really I am just grooming my shot to make sure I can consistently knock down open NBA 3pointers.
You played against so many incredible players in the NCAA in the last five years. Who was the toughest player you battled that is in the NBA?
It would have to be Rodney Mcgruder. We would play one on one all the time before and after practice. It is no secret why he is in the NBA now. He is an incredible ball player and an even better person. I always look up to him and how hard he works.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
Michael Jordan, J-Will AKA White Chocolate, Magic Johnson, and Kobe Bryant
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
As a player and stats Lebron owned him, but Jordan has 6 rings? I am from Chicago, so this is easy…MICHAEL JORDAN and that opinion will never change!
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
Possibly if they get the right pieces. But honestly, there will never be another Golden State Warriors ever again. Those guys are too special and can’t be replicated.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luca Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick?
Honestly, I didn’t really follow the draft or the players in it that much. Haven’t watched college basketball since High School. More focused on watching NBA stuff nowadays.
How did you follow the 2018 NBA Draft? How cool is it having two Germans being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers?
I did see this one, and that is awesome! What a great story for the country of Germany!
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
Probably close to 15apg
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
LOVE Black Panther, seen it 3 times but the last movie I saw was actually Deadpool 2!
Thanks Michael for the chat.