Wichita State guard Ricky Torres has entered the NCAA transfer portal, the senior-to-be confirmed to The Eagle on Wednesday night. It was first reported by Verbal Commits.
A source close to the situation told The Eagle that it was a mutual agreement between Torres and the WSU coaching staff during his visit on Wednesday to find the 6-foot-3 point guard a better basketball fit for his final season.
Torres started 10 games early in the season for WSU, but then became a change-of-pace option off the bench for coach Gregg Marshall and recorded a 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio during WSU’s 14-4 close to the season. He averaged 2.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.4 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game.
Torres was the eighth and final commitment in WSU’s 2018 recruiting class, picking the Shockers over Auburn, Virginia Tech, SMU and South Florida. He was highly billed following an All-American season at the junior-college level, where he averaged 17.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 1.8 steals in his sophomore season at Missouri State-West Plains.
The Pinellas Park, Fla. native took an unorthodox route to college basketball. He was a high school dropout and didn’t play organized basketball until he was 16. He earned his GED, then enrolled in a prep school but didn’t play. From there, he spent a semester at Eastern Florida State College to improve his academics while still not playing.
A coach from Eastern Florida was hired at Missouri State-West Plains, who convinced the program to take a chance on Torres. In his two seasons there, Torres flourished into one of the nation’s top junior-college point guards.
But that scoring prowess never translated to the Division I level at Wichita State, as Torres had just one game scoring in double-figures. The area where Torres’ game took the biggest dip was his outside shooting, as he went from shooting 43.3 percent on three-pointers as a sophomore to making just 4 of 45 three-pointers at WSU for 8.9 percent.
Torres was still able to make a positive impact for the Shockers in spurts with his vision and passing ability, particularly in the pick-and-roll game. He also made 53 percent of his two-point jumpers, which was more in line with his junior-college shooting statistics.
But Torres missed the first 16 three-pointers of the season and never regained his confidence from beyond the arc. Defenses dipped under screens for him, even inside the perimeter and when he didn’t have the ball defenders sagged off to clog driving lanes in the paint.
The path to more playing time next season was unlikely for Torres at WSU. Freshman Jamarius Burton took over the starting point guard role midway through the season and was key to WSU’s 14-4 finish to the season. The Shockers also are bringing in two highly-regarded guards in Tyson Etienne and Noah Fernandes to compete for minutes at point guard.
Rather than play back-up for another season, Torres will search for a situation that he can go into and play major minutes as a senior. It’s a path reminiscent of Daishon Smith, who transferred before his senior year following the 2016-17 season. Instead of playing back-up to Landry Shamet for his final season, Smith transferred to Louisiana-Monroe and averaged 21.0 points this season and greatly improved his chances of playing professional basketball.
Torres’ departure opens up one scholarship for next season. The Shockers are still active in 2019 recruiting, as they will host a top-150 recruit in combo guard Grant Sherfield and junior-college wing Trey Wade on official visits this weekend.
WSU’s current depth chart at guard has Burton at point guard and Erik Stevenson at shooting guard with Etienne and Fernandes both on the way. Fernandes is more of a traditional point guard, while Etienne is capable of playing either guard position.