There will be no more show-stopping dunks by Ricky Council IV in Koch Arena.
The reigning American Athletic Conference Sixth Man of the Year will likely play college basketball somewhere else next season, as Council announced on his social media accounts Thursday he intends to enter his name in the NCAA transfer portal. He is also currently testing the 2022 NBA Draft waters while maintaining his college eligibility.
Losing Council is a gut punch to a Wichita State program that was optimistic it could bring the budding star back for a third season with the Shockers. WSU head coach Isaac Brown repeatedly said he believed Council had AAC Player of the Year potential after averaging 12.0 points and 5.4 rebounds this past season for WSU, coming off the bench in 21 of 28 appearances and playing 26.6 minutes per game.
WSU was the lone high-major program to offer a scholarship to the Council, who was an unheralded 6-foot-6 wing prospect out of Durham, North Carolina when assistant Tyson Waterman discovered him. His athleticism, length and tough shot-making ability from him immediately translated in his two years at WSU and figure to make Council one of the most sought-after players in the transfer portal given his scoring prowess, potential and three years of eligibility remaining.
Council is the seventh scholarship player to enter the transfer portal following WSU’s disappointing 15-13 season, joining Dexter Dennis, Morris Udeze, Joe Pleasant, Qua Grant, Monzy Jackson and Chaunce Jenkins. Paired with the departure of leading scorer Tyson Etienne on Thursday, WSU will have to replace 82.6% of its scoring and 81.2% of its minutes since last season.
That means Brown will be tasked with essentially completely overhauling the roster with just two players currently committed to returning from last season’s rotation in senior point guard Craig Porter and sophomore center Kenny Pohto. Jalen Ricks and Isaac Abidde, a pair of freshmen who redshirted last season, also plan to return to WSU.
Wichita State is now expected to have nine scholarships available for its 2022 recruiting class with three players currently signed in sophomore guard Xavier Bell, sophomore center Quincy Ballard and senior center James Rojas. WSU has Elon senior sharpshooter Hunter McIntosh and Southeastern Louisiana senior wing Gus Okafor scheduled for an official visit this weekend, while Coastal Carolina senior guard Rudi Williams is slated to come to Wichita the following weekend.
For Council, he has until June 1 at 11:59 pm to withdraw his name from consideration for the 2022 NBA Draft to be eligible to play in college this upcoming season. Council is not currently projected to be drafted, but the opportunity is a risk-free decision for him to potentially work out for NBA scouts and leave an impression with a team and put his name on the radar for coming years.
Council still has work to improve the consistency of his jump shot, as his 3-point percentage dipped to 30.6% this past season with higher volume, but it’s encouraging he cashed in on 84.9% of his free throws. Another encouraging sign was how much he improved finishing inside the arc, where Council saw his 2-point percentage jump from 44.6% last season to 51.5% in the 2021-22 season, as he drastically improved his finishing at the rim and mid-range jumper
He also made strides as a playmaker in his second season with the Shockers, although scouts would probably like him to average more than his 1.2 assists per game. When locked in, he has also shown the ability to be a lock-down defender with his length, athleticism, instincts and quick hands. But like most young players, the Council sometimes struggles to maintain that intensity on a regular basis.
But given his potential as a two-way star and the promising signs he showed in becoming a go-to scorer for the Shockers down the stretch of crunch time, Council figures to attract interest from some of the top programs in the country.
This story was originally published April 21, 2022 2:09 PM.