RH: Redshirt Freshman Wants to be a Big Numbers Man

The round house | 10/27/2022 09:54:00

Paul Suellentrop Byline

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Jalen Ricks loves numbers, so much so that a Wichita State professor suggested he major in accounting.

His focus is on that topic and on basketball as the Shockers prepare for the start of the season. Ricks, a redshirt freshman guard, will play a lot of basketball and come up with many of those numbers before it’s time to get the numbers on his business goal.

He wants to build a district full of smart homes.

“I enjoy calculating numbers and solving problems,” he said.

A career in real estate is one of the options he is considering. He is intrigued by the idea of โ€‹โ€‹a development where every homeowner controls utilities, appliances and more from a phone or tablet.

“I’ve always been interested in real estate and I want to start a business that doesn’t just build houses, but builds houses in a technologically sound way,” he said. โ€œGrowing up I moved to a new subdivision where a lot of houses were being built and I saw how it was going and developed the area. I thought the technology implemented with it was a cool idea and something nobody really does.”

Wichita State fans can get their first look at the Shockers Thursday at Shocker Madness (6:30 p.m.) at Koch Arena.

Ricks, of Sherwood, Ark., received the team’s Shelley Cox Academic Leadership Award last season. He made it onto the Sports Director’s Roll of Honor in both semesters (GPA over 3.0). Accounting makes sense for a man with a knack for numbers.

“I wanted to dive deep into the numbers of running a business, even personal finances,” he said. “There are many different things with numbers that can get complicated, especially when it comes to money and business.”

National Coach of Wichita Isaac Brown uses Ricks as his recruiting host due to his academic performance, personality, and connections after playing at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy. Oak Hill plays nationally and produces many prominent players, so Ricks offers a connection to people from across the country.

He was raised in a military family, raised with discipline, work and organization. Clinton Ricks, an Air Force veteran, rewarded his son’s good grades with more time to play basketball.

“He’s a grown kid,” Brown said. “Excellent student. His schedule is amazing, the courses he takes.”

Rick’s favorite spot on campus to show visitors is Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall, the new home of the W. Frank Barton School of Business.

“The majority of my classes are in there,” he said. “It’s a good place to study and have discussions.”

Ricks, 6-foot-7, played in last season’s exhibition game before being sidelined in December for knee surgery. With plenty of depth on the wing in last season’s roster, it made sense for him to switch redshirt and rehab. Though he has yet to play a college game, Ricks is one of the more experienced Shockers in a roster that includes 12 freshmen. He should also set a good example while learning.

“He’s a veteran,” Brown said. “He knows the system. He knows the expectations.”

Ricks played two seasons at Oak Hill, a career that produced NBA talent like Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo and Jerry Stackhouse. Ricks averaged 10.7 points and made 39 percent of his free throws as a senior.

“He’s a guy who can take shots,” Brown said. “That’s what I need from him. Defend his position. Take wide open shots.

With the big roster changes for this season, it may take Brown some time to finalize lineups and playing time. Ricks is ready to play his part.

“My role this year is to be a person who contributes to winning,” he said. โ€œI think it’s important to bring intensity to the defensive end. Offensively, I’m a knockdown shooter and I can bring that to bear.”

These numbers are important to Ricks and Brown. Likewise his qualities, which cannot be measured with numbers.

Paul Sullentrop writes about Wichita State Athletics for University Strategic Communications. story suggestion? Contact him at [email protected].

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