Council brings offensive spark off the bench in freshman season


Rachel Rudisill / The Sunflower

Freshman guard Ricky Council completes his first dunk of the night. Council led the Shockers in scoring with 31 points.

Despite only starting six games this season for WSU, freshman guard Ricky Council IV has always found himself on the court during crunch time. 

Council is averaging 11.7 points per game, the second most on the team, while playing 26.8 minutes per game. Council has been more aggressive in attacking the basket in his second collegiate season, shooting 51.5% on two-pointers in conference play.

“He started taking care of the basketball, he started driving and attacking,” Head Coach Isaac Brown said. “No doubt in my mind he should be sixth man of the year. When he comes off the bench it’s like instant offense.”

Council’s play has been crucial down the stretch this season, reaching double figures in five of WSU’s last six games. Council reached the 20 point mark for the third time this season on Saturday against East Carolina on 8-for-15 shooting..

The freshman guard’s recent play has been pivotal in the team’s results. The Shockers have gone 10-6 when Council scores double figures. 

“I said that from the beginning of the season, if Ricky doesn’t have a good game, it’s going to be tough for us to win,” sophomore Tyson Etienne said of Council. “When he has big games like this, big nights where he’s able to step up, put the ball in the rim, we usually come out successful.”

Council’s also put in work over the offseason at the free-throw stripe. Last season, the freshman guard shot 65.8% on free-throws but that number is up to 83.8% this season.

Council changed his routine over the summer and now takes two dribbles and shoots the free throw. The change has been effective, with Council shooting 87.1% in conference play, the second best mark in the American.

“My mindset is the more you hold it in your hand, the more you think about it in a tough situation,” Council said. “If you think about one little negative thought, my form will get shot.”

Junior Dexter Dennis said that Council’s scoring potential helps add another dimension to the Shocker offense. Council is now averaging 13.4 points per game in conference play. He’s also averaging 5.6 rebounds, the second most of any Shocker during that stretch.

“When he gets it going, it definitely adds to our team,” Dennis said. “We’ve already got a few guys in there that are possible threats. When he comes in and gets it going, it definitely creates problems for other teams.”

Council’s performance in the AAC Tournament will be pivotal to WSU making a return trip to the NCAA Tournament this March. The Shockers feel that the momentum created after wins against Tulsa and East Carolina last week.

“I feel like we’re starting to pick it back up,” Council said. “We wanted to end the season with some momentum going into the conference tournament and I felt like we accomplished that.”