NAIA to the Pros – The Torren Jones Story
When I was contacted by William Penn University assistant coach, Blake Sandquist, about the list of guys that William Penn have had sign pro contracts, I had flashbacks to when Torren dominated the 2017 NAIA DI National Tournament. I remember watching his 36 point, 11 rebound game against Georgetown (KY), then follow that up in the National Semifinals with a 19 point, 18 rebound game. Teams were literally guarding him with four guys, and he was still having his way. Truly one of the more special National Tournament performances I can remember. The Statesmen of William Penn are always a fun team to watch in Kansas City. Some NAIA Athletic Director is going to be really smart and hire Blake Sandquist as a Head Coach one day soon, but until then I know he and Coach Henry will have the Statesmen as a national championship contender once again.
Torren has a really unique story. Here is a kid who signed at the University of Missouri out of high school, played in 30 games as a freshman, and was dismissed from the team when Kim Anderson took the Missouri job. From there, Torren chose to go the JUCO route, where he played at Midland Junior College (TX). He earned a scholarship offer from Fresno State University, and started 17 games averaging 10.5 points, and 7.9 rebounds per game. After playing in the NCAA tournament with Fresno State, Torren would once again find himself dismissed from a program for violating a team rule. Torren says he was lost, and wasn’t sure if he would be given another chance. He knew if another chance was given that he wasn’t going to waste it. He knew he needed a place where he would be held accountable and where he could stay focused and locked in. Torren wanted to be a pro basketball palyer, and wanted a place where the playing style, and system that would allow him to be successful so that he could live his dream of being a professional basketball player. Torren knew this was his last year to prove himself, and his last chance to pave a way to a better life for himself.
Coach Henry, who has now coached 25 players who have played basketball professionally, said that Torren is one of the best to ever come through William Penn. Coach Henry said Torren was really coachable, and had a competitive fire that every coach wants in a player. Coach Henry made it a point to say that outside of not liking the officials early in the season, that they didn’t have any issues with him during his time at WPU.
The respect was mutual. Torren said that playing for Coach Henry was great. He appreciates Coach for believing in him and his talents from day one. He said that Coach Henry never tried to hold him back or limit what he could do on the court, and would always push him to do more to help the team win. He also credits Coach Henry, Coach Sandquist and the rest of the coaching staff for keeping him motivated off the floor and in the classroom as well. Torren really loved his time at WPU, and says that Coach Henry was a true players coach who went to bat for his players and always treated them with respect and the players all respected him in return. Torren also misses playing games in Penn Gymnasium, saying that the support they received from the William Penn family was amazing and their games were always rocking.
Torrens journey wasn’t one he expected after signing with Missouri out of high school. But he believes that he’s better for it today, and owes a lot of that to WPU for giving him one last chance. He loved his time at the NAIA level and wants kids to know that if they are on the fence on signing to play NAIA that they should just go for it. He says that it doesn’t matter what level you play at, that if you’re good then you’re good, and will be given chances to sign a pro contract. He has a lot of friends from NCAA D1 who rode the bench and didn’t get a chance to showcase themselves for pro contracts. Torren said if you want to play pro basketball then it’s more important about your position on a team and the role you have, rather then the name on the front of the jersey or the level you play at.
Torren was able to have a try out with NBA teams, and with the Agua Caliente Clippers G-League team before ultimately signing a deal with OHOD in Saudi Arabia. Torren now plays for the SouthernVale Homes Bandits in Australia where he is currently averaging 20.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game.
After his pro career is over Torren wants to transition into fashion or real estate and would also like to start his own foundation to help single mothers. He also wants to open a restaurant or two because he loves food and has always had interest in owning one! He is a real entrepreneur, and has been saving his money up to be able to come back to the states and open a business or two. One thing is for certain, the Torren Jones story isn’t over, and I hope he has as much success as an entrepreneur as he has had as a professional basketball player.