DeKALB – Rachel Torres is going to immediately make a huge adjustment when she takes the court next season for North Park University, where the DeKalb senior signed to play basketball a few weeks ago.
Her coaches at DeKalb – Ben Bates and Chris Davenport – were usually loud with their words of encouragement or displeasure. When Torres visited North Park coach Amanda Reese’s practices, she didn’t see that.
“I went to a game and she didn’t seem like much of a yeller,” Torres said. “Coach Davenport is like the opposite of that. But so far she’s been really nice. I’ve always had coaches who yell at me, so we’ll see.”
But there are plenty of connections between Reese and DeKalb. The North Park coach played for NIU, where she was a three-time captain and earned MVP honors in 1997. Her first coaching job was at DeKalb, where she coached the junior varsity and was head coach of the varsity team.
Reese still has relationships with a few coaches at DeKalb, so Torres heard plenty about her after she began considering North Park after her junior season.
“One coach told me, ‘Yeah, I think you’d be a good fit, she really works hard,’ ” Torres said. “He had nothing but good things to say about coach Reese, about how good of a player she was in college and stuff like that.”
North Park plays in the College Conference of Illinois Wisconsin, which sent two teams to the Division III tournament this year. The Vikings finished sixth in the CCIW last season, and they’ll be looking to reload after losing plenty of experience.
“I just decided it was the best fit for me,” Torres said. “They lost six seniors, so they need people to step up right away. She was just looking for talented guards, I guess.”
Torres was one of the area’s best defenders during her four-year career as a varsity starter. Her offensive game, though, put her over the top during the past two seasons, and she was named Daily Chronicle Player of the Year after her senior season.
Next year, she knows she needs to bulk up and work even more on her outside shooting, which improved each year at DeKalb.
“I’m definitely going to be in the weight room a lot this summer and I’m definitely going to try to build up muscle,” Torres said. “As far as my game, I think I’ll work a lot more on my 3-point shooting.”
Although her coach will have a few characteristics she’s not used to, there’s one thing with Torres will be familiar with from her days at DeKalb, where opponents’ scores usually were in the 20s and 30s.
“She stresses a lot of defense, which I like,” Torres said.