New terrain for Torain: Eagle grad signs with JUCO Northland Community and Tech

NEXT PIONEER – F.W. Springstead graduate Sincere Torain recently signed with JUCO Northland Community and Tech in Thief River, Minnesota. Attending the signing ceremony included the first row (left to right) grandfather Ron Reeder-Williams, grandmother Michele Reeder-Williams, Sincere Torain. his mother Jessica Ortiz and stepfather John Carr. Back row: brother Divine Torain. girlfriend Devyn Leddy and brother Unique Torain.

BASKETBALL

Three-year starter

journeys to Thief

River, Minnesota

By TONY CASTRO

Hernando Sport.com

 

Sincere Torain

College prospects are rarely fortunate enough to travel to a neighboring county – say to New Port Richey’s Pasco-Hernando State College – to begin the next chapter of their lives.

It’s never that easy.

A prime example of the transition is recent F.W. Springstead graduate Sincere Shakoor Torian.

When the 18-year-old Torain reports to college – JUCO’s Northland Community and Tech in Thief River, Minnesota – he’ll be eligible to apply for frequent flyer miles.

By automobile, it’s nearly 11½ hours from Spring Hill to just south of the Canadian border.

Torain will cover an estimated 1,856 miles before arriving in Minnesota.

It isn’t that that there aren’t plenty of collegiate basketball programs available between western Hernando County and Canada – but the Pioneers heavily recruited the 6-foot-1, 160-pound guard.

And Torain accepted the challenge of playing out-of-state to reach the next level.

What sweetened the opportunity was the opportunity to be reunited with 2018 SHS graduate Zack Meyer.

Zack Meyer

The 6-foot-4 Meyer, who signed with Webber University in Polk County last season, is transferring to Northland.

The Eagles duo were key components in the 2018 Class 7A, District 8 title run over Land O’ Lakes, 68-67.

Torain 411

Sincere was born in Tampa as the oldest of seven children to Shakoor and Jessica Ortiz.

His father played basketball in New Jersey.

The family relocated from New York 10 years ago and resides in Spring Hill.

Tracing his athletic roots, Sincere’s initial organized sport was flag football at 5.

He began playing basketball at 8 at the Hernando County Family YMCA in Spring Hill.

Explorer K-8 Bobcats

During middle school, he played for Explorer Bobcats’ junior varsity squad in sixth-grade.

As a seventh-grader, he made the varsity squad.

He played varsity basketball again as an eighth-grade and also competed on the track and field squad concentrating in the 800 meters, the high jump and 4×100 relay.

In the year-end 2015 Hernando County Middle School Athletic Conference championship, Explorer lost by two points to Challenger,113.5-111.5.

Explorer eighth-grader Torain Sincere soared 5’6″ to capture the gold medal in Wednesday’s high jump. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Torain was terrific placing third in the half mile in 2:19, was a member of the second-place 4×100 relay (49.29-49.31) to Parrott and garnered gold in the high jump with a leap of 5’6”.

The brown-tressed and brown-eyed Torain matriculated to Weeki Wachee High School and played junior varsity basketball as a freshman.

He was promoted to the varsity roster for the season’s final 10 games.

Following the Hornets’ 6-22 campaign under Bob Croyle, Torain transferred to Springstead High.

He concentrated solely on varsity basketball playing three seasons under Matt McGarry.

Matt McGarry . Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

His production dramatically increased each varsity season.

As a sophomore, he averaged just under seven points per game for 14-10 Eagles.

In Year 2 – alongside a healthy Meyer in the lineup – the Mariner Boulevard crew climbed to 19-9, earning Hernando County’s leading eighth district championship and first since 2008-09 under Pat Kelly.

After graduating six seniors from the title team, the Eagles finished 2018-19 at 12-11

Following his junior and senior campaigns, the smooth-ball handling and shooting Torain was named All-Hernando County by the area mentors.

Outside the basketball court, Torain maintained a 3.1 grade point average.

His favorite courses included Mrs. Berily’s Algebra II and Marine Biology.

Springstead’s Sincere Torain shoots against Crystal River in the O’Connell Shootout.                           Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Passion for hoops

For the past 10 years, Torain has carried a passion for hoops.

“It’s a different type of excitement,” explained Torain. “When you’re on the basketball court everybody knows who you are. There’s no place to hide.”

His favorite facet of the game is playing defense and running transition.

“When I play, my I need my defense to get my points and to get the ball up the court quickly.

His role at SHS modified.

Initially, he thought about scoring all the time. As he grew older, it was about running the floor and getting the rest of teammates involved.

Sincere Torain Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“I used to have more of a shooting mentality,” identified Torian. “We lost some pieees of the scoring puzzle, so I thought we had to get more points. Now, I’m more of a passer.”

Torain, who led the county in scoring at 18.7 points per game last winter, was the county’s fourth-best three-point shooter (47 treys), finished runner-up in assists to Robert Gomez of NCT, 4.5-4.4, but led the county in steals at 3.5.

He says he takes a lot personal satisfaction in steals.

“Every year, my steals went up and up,“ stressed Torain. “If I didn’t have the steals, I wouldn’t be able to run transition.”

His biggest improvement?

“It’s creating my own shot,” replied Torain. “It took my entire junior year to work on my pullup jumper. Everybody knows I like to slash to the hoop, but if I can pull up and land that three-pointer, that adds to my attack.”

Rewinding his experience

Across his three winters with the Eagles, winning districts was the pinnacle.

“That district championship was an eye-opener,“ indicated Torain. “No one really expected us to win it.”

“What I remember most about my junior year was overcoming the adversity that year. Coach (McGarry) was suspended, so he wasn’t available. We had a good, solid team. We had to overcome losing our coach.

“… As a senior, the team was different. My job was to get the younger pieces together to rebuild. We lost to Land O’ Lakes three times. They were the best team in the district.”

Before traversing to the Great Lake State, Torain readily admits he has become more of a point guard.

“I’ve got to get everybody involved. That’s job 1,” he shared.

Picking the Pioneers

On why Torain chose Northland.

“The coach saw me play. He’s put faith in me that I could do the job. I look at him more as a father figure. The vibe he gave helped me make my decision.”

On playing just south of the Canadian border, “I lived in Texas and New York before, but there’s nothing as cold as Minnesota,” explained Torain with a grin.

Torain expects to study sports management and aspires to become a sports agent or serve in the management of a professional team.

“The decision was easier when my mom said I was making the right call to leave,” noted Torain. “I’m looking at it as an opportunity to play at the next level. I’m looking forward to playing point guard. I was Pioneers‘ top recruit.”

Springstead High’s Sincere Torain elevates for two points in the Class 7A, District 8 basketball championship game versus Land O’ Lakes High School. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Of course, being reunited with Meyer didn’t hurt the situation.

“Actually knowing somebody 2,000 miles away from home really helps,” shared Torain. “I know Zack’s game and he knows mine. We’ll be living within two blocks of each other – which will help both of us.”

On his mood, prior to departing, “I’m a little anxious. I’ve never been this far from home before.”

In a card of thanks, Torain appreciated what he went through at SHS.

“Springstead prepared me academically for college,” he insisted. “Without it, I wouldn’t have had a chance. I have to thank Coach McGarry. He kinda took me under his wing since I arrived. He’s the one who’s made me a better player.”

On his legacy, “I’d like to be remembered as the kid that never came back,” smiled Torain.

By the Numbers:

Springstead’s Sincere Torain (2016-19)

Compiled by TONY CASTRO

BASKETBALL

Sincere Torain
 

YEAR

 

YR

 

GP

 

FG

 

3-PT

 

FTA

 

FTM

 

.PCT

 

TP

 

PPG

2016-17

10

24

57

27

33

22

.667

163

6.79

2017-18*

11

23

119

33

102

76

.745

347

15.1

2018-19*

12

23

154

47

118

75

.636

430

18.7

 

TOTALS

 

70

 

330

 

107

 

253

 

173

 

.684

 

940

 

13.4

* Denotes All-Hernando County selection.