WICHITA, Kan. Among the many new faces for the Shockers this year, is JuCo All-American Ricky Torres. Torres, a Florida native, will step on to the floor with a far different experience level than many of the new faces he joins.
"I think generally junior college players come in with a year or two more of physical and mental maturity," WSU Head Coach Gregg Marshall said. "Ricky is a mature guy. He's seen and done a lot in his life, and he's not one of these wet behind the ears freshmen. He's got a moxie about him and, when he's been in, he's been good."
Much of that mental maturity comes from being a dad. Torres has a 4-year-old son, Adriel.
"I have my son tattooed on me right here, when I look down that's me," Torres explained as he showed of the tattoo of his son, which you can clearly see on his right forearm. "That's why I go every day."
Like many of his fellow Shocker newcomers, Torress comes in as a highly touted player at his previous level. He averaged 17 points a game, to go along with 8 assists while at Missouri State-West Plains last year. That helped earn him 1st team NJCAA All-American status.
"He understands our stuff, he's very bright and he's one of those guys that came in and picked it up right away.," Marshall said. "His mental approach to the game is the best thing he is doing now."
Torres says that mental approach comes because he has more to play for than just himself.
"Everybody goes through days where they are like, man, today is a rough day. I'm not in the mood," Torres said when I asked about the added motivation of playing for his family. "For me it's different."