Torrance steels for new role
Alabama's sophomore guard simply scans the words, lets them soak in, then grabs a basketball and heads to Coleman Coliseum.
"It motivates me every day," Torrance said.
The loss of Ronald Steele to a medical redshirt means the burden for running the Crimson Tide falls on the winner of a preseason battle between true freshman Rico Pickett and Torrance, a 6-foot-4 graduate of Mary Montgomery High School.
Torrance can be considered the clubhouse leader, since he averaged roughly three points in 21 games in 2006-07. But that experience is nothing like the one that awaits him this season.
Few players are ever as important to a program as Ronald Steele has been during his time at Alabama. The Tide slumped badly without him late last season, missing the NCAA tournament while dropping five of its final six games.
"He's just going to have to be mentally prepared to be mature out there on the court and help run the team," forward Richard Hendrix said of Torrance. "Everyone can't be a point guard like Ronald Steele, who was able to take over a game at any moment and also be able to keep everyone else involved while keeping their poise."
While not yet an All-American of Ronald Steele's caliber, Torrance boasts promising skills that could make him dangerous. For one, he is ambidextrous. He can dribble and shoot equally well with his left and right hands.
He's taller than many point guards, and he lives near a pretty good teacher of the position. Torrance's roommate is Ronald Steele, who has now taken a lead role in preparing his replacement.
The first lesson in becoming Ronald Steele: Become a gym rat like him.
"Torrance is the guy right now in our program that if you cut through the coliseum while you're going to lunch or leaving here at 5 or 6 in the afternoon and there's a ball bouncing, a lot of times it's him," said Alabama assistant coach Philip Pearson.
So consider Torrance prepared, if not by Southeastern Conference standards, by international ones. The opportunity to replace Ronald Steele actually is not the most lasting memory Torrance will take from 2007.
In May, he and Tide teammate Demetrius Jemison took 14-hour flights to China as volunteer members of Reach USA basketball. The eight-man U.S. team, which also featured Auburn's Rasheem Barrett and Quan Prowell, played eight games in 10 days against professional Chinese clubs.
Torrance averaged 15 points per game during the trip. It was quite an experience for a young man who turned 19 two weeks ago and had never been overseas.
"A lot of people can't say they've been to China," he said. "It was just a blessed experience, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to do something like that."
Having worked against a 24-second shot clock in China, Torrance felt better equipped for the up-tempo brand of basketball Alabama is promising this season.
Here's betting pace of play is not the only surprise the Tide tries to throw when no one sees it coming this season.
"I'm very excited about this year," Torrance said. "A lot of people are counting us out. We're going to catch a lot of people off guard."