NK star a preferred walk-on at powerhouse Gonzaga

North Kitsap senior Cade Orness has committed to play basketball at Gonzaga University as a preferred walk-on with an opportunity to earn a scholarship.

“It means everything to me,” Orness said. “I’ve been working every day of my life for this. I have a lot of great people and teammates in my life who have made this possible.”

Cade’s father and coach Scott Orness said: “The last twelve hours have been surreal. I go back in my mind to all the workouts he has done, rebounding for him on the driveway hoop, him doing ball-handling drills in the garage when it was raining, and all the practices and games we have had together. It’s brought me incredible joy watching him develop his game.”

Orness has been on the Bulldogs radar since the summer of his junior year. North Kitsap attended a team camp and Orness impressed the Gonzaga coaching staff. Afterward, Gonzaga coach Brian Michaelson recruited Orness, including a visit to the campus last February.

“He has his foot in the door at one of the best college basketball programs in the country and now he gets to bet on himself, his work ethic, and his skill set,” Scott Orness said.

The Bulldogs have reached the NCAA Tournament 26 consecutive seasons and the national title game in 2017 and 2021.

Orness finished his career at North Kitsap with an average of 18.4 points per game, 1,821 career points and 635 assists. In addition, Orness won the Olympic League Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year and all-state tournament first-team honors while leading the Vikings to a 23-5 record and a third-place trophy.

“I am looking forward to winning,” Cade Orness said. “Every time I hoop, I play to win, and Gonzaga has a great history of winning.”