July 7, 2014
By John Lock
The SIU women's basketball program is welcoming in four newcomers to the 2014-15 squad, Kylie Giebelhausen, Micah Norris, Blair Stephenson and Celina VanHyfte. The foursome is in Carbondale for four weeks getting ready for the upcoming season and getting acclimated to Southern Illinois. We've profiled Stephenson, Giebelhausen and VanHyfte over the last three weeks. Our final profile is on Micah Norris, who brings a championship trophy and mentality to Carbondale.
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Days after accepting the head coach job at Southern Illinois, head coach Cindy Stein made Micah Norris a recruiting priority. The long-armed 5-11 guard played for the best high school basketball team in the nation, and she had everything SIU needed to start to build the program to the top of the MVC.
She can play right away. Norris is no stranger to playing early in a career. As a sixth grader, she played with the eighth graders. As a freshman in high school, she played on the varsity. She listed potential playing time alongside the coaching staff, friendly players and beautiful campus as the reason she chose to come to SIU.
She has a winning background. As a senior at Blackman High School, Norris played on a team that went 34-1 and was named the nation's best high school team by ESPN. When she played with all her high school opponents in the AAU circuit, she won that national title, too. "I hate losing with a passion," Norris said.
She knows her role. A big part of the reason for all the wins Norris has been a part of: she knows how to fit into whatever role helps the team win. That's why Stein and the rest of the coaching staff were so keen on getting Norris; "She has a team-first mentality, and our vision saw her in a role to potentially have an immediate impact with us," recruiting coordinator Kat Martin said.
In high school, that meant Norris was the primary defensive stopper who took open shots and drove the lane a little bit. At SIU, she's already demonstrated a smooth shooting stroke and a willingness to take contact at the basket. When she took her official visit to SIU, Stein told Norris she needed to be ready to be more aggressive offensively if she accepted a scholarship to Southern. Norris committed just days later.
"Micah is similar to Kylie (Giebelhausen), where her numbers may not always be so evident, yet her stat line will be full," Stein said. "This is the best athlete in the bunch, and she uses it to rebound and defend. She is an underrated shooter, but she has that in her repertoire and utilizes it when she knows her team needs it."
She plays big in big games. After being on high school and AAU national title teams, Norris is used to the spotlight. She helped lead her high school team to its first win over Riverdale in years--and then beat them again later in the season, with both games being played in front of 6,000+ fans. Blackman won the state title game by 21 points. Blackman avenged its only loss in the 2013-14 season with a nine-point win later in the year.
Norris said she is just hoping to make a difference as a freshman. She wants to get along with teammates and pitch in wherever she can. When the discussion turns to team goals, she gets much more specific.
"I expect to win," Norris said.
Considering her track record, she will.
|Norris at a glance|
|Favorite Basketball Memory||Winning State Title|
|Favorite Athlete||Kevin Durant|
|Favorite Movie||School of Rock|
|Favorite Musical Artist||Chris Brown|