March 2, 2011

Roquemore Ready to Play in Hometown

By Carolyn Linck, 11

The Bronco basketball team is ready to play in the WCC Tournament March 4-7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.  But for freshman point guard, Evan Roquemore, the trip to Las Vegas is especially exciting because it gives him the opportunity to play in his hometown in front of family and friends.

"I'm really excited to play in Vegas again, this time on a bigger stage at the college level," said Roquemore.  "I'm going to have a lot of support at the games and I think it's going to be really special.  My parents, grandparents, cousins, friends and former coaches will be there.  I'm looking forward to showing them what our team can do in this tournament."

Roquemore, who grew up in Las Vegas and attended Foothill High School in nearby Henderson, Nev. believes the Broncos can go far if they play their game.

"As a team we need to focus on defense and execution in the tournament," said Roquemore.  "If we can keep teams from scoring on us, we'll be in the game no matter what.  Individually, I need to focus on limiting my turnovers and controlling the tempo of the game. That's going to be key."

Roquemore, who was unsigned out of high school until coming to Santa Clara at the end of July, led the Broncos in minutes played during the conference season.

"In July I couldn't have anticipated any of this. My summer and recruitment was pretty crazy.  I had no idea where I was going to end up," said Roquemore, who signed with SCU on July 26 and flew out to start summer school the next day.  "I didn't know I'd be able to contribute this much as a freshman."

Roquemore's contributions, averaging 37.2 minutes, 11. 8 points and 5 assists in WCC games, were recognized by the coaches in the conference, who named him to the All-WCC Freshman Team March 1.

"It's an honor to be named to the All Freshman Team," said Roquemore.  "It just shows that people around the conference recognize the hard work I put in."

Indeed, Roquemore had to put in extra time to adjust to the collegiate level of play.

"The speed of the game and the level of competition definitely was an adjustment initially," said Roquemore.  "I had to put some work in with the coaches and watching film to step my game up to a higher level."

Though it took some adjustments, Roquemore feels playing high school and AAU basketball in Vegas prepared him well for the collegiate game. 

"I think Vegas is a little undervalued from a basketball perspective," said Roquemore.  "We don't get as much attention or respect as some of the other big cities for the players we produce, but I think that will change soon.  There's a lot of talent in the city and the level of competition is definitely high.  It's something that motivates me.  I want to prove to everyone that great players come out of Las Vegas."

Roquemore is the first player from Foothill to sign with a Division I university right out of high school.  He hopes his success will help other players from his high school too.

"It's a big accomplishment for me and for Foothill," said Roquemore.  "Now that I've gone to a D1 school and done well, maybe more coaches will look at the players there."

Roquemore's friends and family will get to see him and the rest of the Broncos in their first game of the WCC Tournament Sat. at 6 pm against the winner of the LMU/Portland game.