Friday, January 29, 2010

Foothill senior leaving his mark on basketball program

By Anthony Fenech

Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

Evan Roquemore had two goals for his senior season as a Foothill Falcon — lead his team back to Nevada's 4A boys basketball final four and see his college recruiting pick up.

With a 14-5 record, Foothill is in first place and undefeated in Southeast Division play, and things are shaping up nicely for a deep run in the playoffs.

That kind of team success — along with some stellar personal performances — Roquemore is receiving more attention from the next level.

"Everything's gone according to plans so far," he said. "I've just been concentrating on working hard and doing things right."

The 6-foot-3 Roquemore is averaging more than 23 points a game and has had a couple of breakout performances to put him on the map.

In Foothill's season opener against Eldorado, he dropped a career-high 44 points.

And in his showdown with nationally ranked Findlay Prep and super-prospect Cory Joseph, he scored 31 points

"It's cool when people recognize your game," Roquemore said. "It makes you play harder to show everyone what you can do."

That even goes for a dunk contest, which is exactly where Roquemore found himself Dec. 13 at the Orleans Arena.

In 30 seconds, he showed off a dunking repertoire that included a 360-degree slam, a two-handed windmill and a reverse dunk.

"It was a lot of fun," Roquemore said. "And for the first one I've ever been in, I think I did all right."

He finished second.

Foothill coach Kevin Soares said that the Roquemore everyone is seeing as a senior is a product of the hard work put in as an underclassman.

"The progression that he's made since he was a freshman is amazing," Soares said. "There aren't too many guys that have come through here like him."

"In the offseason, he shows up to every workout. On top of that, he would go shoot up to 500 shots a day and, knowing him, after that he'd probably go up to the rec center and play ball."

He sets an example for other players, Soares said.

"Kids that are coming up in our program have seen what he's done," Soares said. "They know it just doesn't come natural — becoming a good all-around player."

Roquemore started during the Falcons 2008 run to the state semifinals where they were upended by Reno.

He remembers the loss and doesn't want his career to end with one.

"I know we have a good shot this year," he said. "Since it's my last, I don't want to let it go by."

With his last year comes options for what his next year will bring.

He has received scholarship offers from Air Force and Eastern Washington but has yet to make a commitment.

"He'll play at the next level," Soares said. "He's starting to get more and more interest from the Division-I schools, and I think he'll like his choices."

But Roquemore knows the best way to get on the scouts' radar is by winning, and, namely, winning against good competition.

"I love the competition we've played," he said. "I like playing against people that are better than me, because it makes me work harder. None of the stats matter if we don't win, though."

The Falcons take on Green Valley tonight.

"I expect him to continue to be the leader I've seen from him," Soares said. "He's doing the right things, trying to get everybody involved and when we need him to take over, he's doing a pretty good job of that, too."

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