Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State target Ricky Torres has chance to be 'special, special player'

Ricky Torres was named a junior college All-American, as he averaged 17.2 points and 8.1 assists for Missouri State-West Plains this season.
Ricky Torres was named a junior college All-American, as he averaged 17.2 points and 8.1 assists for Missouri State-West Plains this season. Ricky Torres

Three years ago, Ricky Torres wasn't playing basketball.

Then he got a chance to return to the court at Missouri State-West Plains, where Torres just completed his sophomore season and was named a junior college All-American after averaging 17.2 points and 8.1 assists per game, second-most in the nation on the assists.

It's that type of potential in the 6-foot-3 point guard that has made Torres a target for Gregg Marshall and Wichita State, which has two scholarships remaining to dole out in its 2018 recruiting class following Friday's commitment of Jamarius Burton.

"He's come a long ways in two short years and I really feel, as good as he is and all that he's accomplished, he's only going to get better at the next place he goes," Missouri State-West Plains coach Chris Popp told the Eagle of Torres.

"He has so much potential. He already is a great player, but he's got a chance to be a special, special player by the time he's done."

Wichita State has made the final cut for Torres, who took his official visit to WSU earlier this week. Torres told the Eagle he is also considering conference rivals SMU and South Florida, Auburn, and Virginia Tech. Torres, who also visited SMU, will decide "soon" after completing his final visit to South Florida this weekend.

Like many of WSU's 2018 recruits, Torres is drawn to WSU by Marshall's past success with the Shockers, an opportunity to play immediately next season, and Marshall's track record for developing pro talent at the guard position. Torres was also impressed by WSU's ability to consistently sell out 10,506-seat Koch Arena.

Another benefit for WSU is assistant coach Kyle Lindsted's relationship with Popp, who is a Wichita Northwest graduate and started his coaching career as an assistant under Lonnie Lollar at Derby from 2001-04. Torres said he felt comfortable playing for a coach that Popp can vouch for.

"The only con is that there is going to be a completely new team next year," Torres said. "But Coach Marshall has had similar situations before, and he's proven that he can be successful with new teams that buy in."

Torres would come to WSU as a junior and immediately compete for the starting point guard job with returning senior Samajae Haynes-Jones and Burton, an incoming freshman.

Popp describes Torres as a true point guard who can create for others on the court, as he uses his height, vision, and playmaking ability to lead a team. Torres set every Missouri State-West Plains single-season and career record for assists in his two years.

"I would never do this, but if I had to sit down and not coach, Ricky could run the game for me and we would still win and be fine," Popp said. "He really is another coach out there on the floor. He wants to get into coaching one day, and I know he's going to be successful. He's just one of those guys that understands the game on another level."

But Torres' length doesn't just translate to distributing. He's a plus-rebounder and defender because of it as well. Torres averaged 4.7 rebounds for Missouri State-West Plains and also blocked 17 shots.

"It's been such a great luxury for us because we're able to switch with him on ball screens and it doesn't matter if he ends up on a big," Popp said. "Most of those blocked shots are on the ball, too. He has a great defensive feel. He'll keep that cushion, then go up and challenge the shot.

"Probably the best part about his offensive game is his mid-range pull-up. He elevates on it really well and leaves it high and I think that's going to be a major weapon for him at the next level."

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