South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Five minutes with Michael Orris


Michael Orris might be known for one shot in South Dakota State men’s basketball history. It might be one of the most important shots in the school’s recent memory.

Orris drained a jumper at the buzzer against South Dakota in the 2016 Summit League semi-finals that sent the Jacks to the finals, where they eventually downed the Omaha Mavericks 79-77.

Now, Orris, who briefly played professionally in Iceland after graduation and worked as a waiter, has found a new gig. He signed with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and were in town to face the Sioux Falls Skyforce. This where we caught up with the former Jacks guard.

Question: Was the shot against South Dakota in the Summit League Tournament the biggest moment in your career at South Dakota State?

Answer: “Oh, for sure. I mean, that shot I will never forget, right? It’s one of those things you dream as a kid, you count down in your driveway ‘Five, four, three, two, one…’ You’re in the NCAA Tournament or a big game, and we were in the semifinals, as basketball players we dream of that moment so that’s by far the biggest shot, moment in my career.”

Q: How was your first season in the G League?

A: “First year, man, there were a lot of up and downs, a lot of learning, the NBA style of play is just so much different than college. Learning different concepts, defensively, offensively, there are way different rules … It was a good learning process for me, I think it could have gone a lot better personally for me. I just let myself kind of learn and have that rookie year, that rookie breakout, but it was good. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Q: What are some of the challenges in the G League?

A: “Man, the biggest challenge is just night-in and night-out, competing as hard as you can. Not necessarily a challenge, cause as athletes we all want to compete but we travel a lot, we play three games a week. We play 50 games in a five-month span, so that’s probably the hardest adjustment: going at it every single day at practice, doing our things, adjusting to the length and the size and the speed of the game, it’s just way different than college. … Me and my assistant coach went to the game the other night (Thursday) it just looked so different. They looked so much smaller, slower, it’s not even close.

Q: How do you like Fort Wayne?

A: “It’s good. Have you seen the whole 2K thing? It’s really not that bad. Yes, there’s nothing to do there but they have every food spot that you want. … They got everything you need, there’s just not a whole lot to do. But, the fans in Fort Wayne are awesome, they are kind of like here, they don’t have a professional team in Fort Wayne, they love their minor league stuff and they show a lot of love. I am fortunate to be there.

Q: So, would you say the 2K depiction of the G League is garbage?

A: “Yeah, come on. Especially with the G League depiction, I saw some highlights of guys were saying in the locker room. It’s not how it goes. It’s not like that at all,” he said with a laugh.

Q: How has the transition been from being a starter in college to role player in the G League?

A: It’s different. But, I have always kind of that team player that does whatever the coach and team needs from me. So, I think it comes easy. Of course, do all of us as athletes want to play? Do I want to play and start and do all those things? Of course. Maybe one day I will get there by proving my worth and value over time. I had a rookie year last year, it’s my second year, still trying to figure it all out get my feet wet. It hasn’t been too hard to adjust, because I am always a team guy. I want to win.

Q: You played against your teammate Tra-Deon Hollins in college. How different is it to play with him?

A: “Nothing like I thought it would be. When you play against guys, you have an opinion in your head of what they’re like, but he’s awesome. Me and him get along. We are always chopping it up, laughing, always joking. He’s got my back, I got his back, it’s a cool duo in the relationship.

Q: Do you guys ever talk about the Summit League?

A: “We always joke about beating them, everyone will bring it up cause they all know we beat them in the championship and he gets so mad. We were on the flight and the bus here and we were like ‘T.D. [Tra-Deon], do you like South Dakota?’ and he just gets so mad. It’s been fun.”

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