COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Ricky Torres, a sophomore point guard on the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team this past season, has been named first team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
The honors were announced by NJCAA officials on Tuesday, April 10, on the organization’s website, njcaa.org. Torres is the 15th Grizzly Basketball player to receive All-American honors and the first to be recognized since Gage Wooten following the 2011-12 season.
“Ricky has been priceless for this program and for me personally,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Chris Popp said. “In the past two years, he has broken every assist record we have and has been instrumental as a leader for us. As our point guard and a two-year team captain, he has helped us turn this program around, out of probation to being nationally ranked and winning the NJCAA Region 16 Championship. I can’t say enough about his part in that.
Torres, a 6-foot, 3-inch point guard from Pinellas Park, Florida, averaged 17.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game this past season. He shot 49.9 percent from the field, 43.3 percent from 3-point range and 69.7 percent from the free throw line.
Against Region 16 opponents, he averaged 16.9 points, four rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. His assist counts led Region 16 and placed him second in the country in total assists and assists per game.
SET NEW RECORDS
Torres finishes his career as the Grizzlies’ all-time career assist leader (427), single season assist leader (268) and the record holder for most assists in a single game (16).
“Usually, I don’t care about individual awards, but this one is definitely a blessing,” Torres said. “Where I come from, not a lot of people do much, and I’ve worked hard to get to this point.
“I want to thank the fans around the community for their continued support. They have made the Joe Paul Evans Arena an extremely fun atmosphere to play in,” he added. “I want to thank my teammates for pushing me every day in practice. Coach Popp and Coach (Ken) Moses have had their full trust in me and allowed me to make decisions on the court, which plays a huge part in any accomplishments I’ve garnered in my career in West Plains. West Plains has changed my life, and I am very thankful for this place. My first place team!”
“One thing that makes this award special is that Ricky had options at the NCAA Division I level to leave last year. He chose to return to better himself and be a part of something. It is great to see him rewarded,” Popp said.
“He has improved significantly, grown in ways that he probably doesn’t even recognize, and now has a number of great options. I am confident he will be successful moving forward, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for him,” the coach added.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball program, visit the team’s website or call 417-255-7991.
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