May 4, 2015

Roach headed north

Kevin McCarthy

When an invitation is extended to join a team that just finished 25-4 on the season and 15-1 in conference play, the attention of most players will be captured. It certainly did with Marin Academy's Kyle Roach and now he is headed to Whitworth University in Spokane.

photo of Kyle Roach

The Pirates are the masters of their domain in the Division III Northwest Conference, having won the league championship eight times since 2007, missing only in 2009. Sophomore Kenny (Cardinal Newman) Love was recently named Conference Player of the Year as well as a Third Team All-American and the addition of the 6-foot-4 Roach will be bringing in additional firepower. Try 35.8 points a contest as well as nine rebounds this season with game highs in points of 53, 50 and 46. This level of production earned Roach the Bay Counties League West Player of the Year and All-NorCal Division V honors.

Roach tripped to Spokane back in late September after the Whitworth coaching staff—Assistant Coach Zach Payne and Head Coach Matt Logie—initiated contact during late spring/summer when he was playing for Lakeshow. Payne is a former Whitworth player, having transferred there after two years at Diablo Valley College.

“After my visit, they said it was up to me now and I chose Whitworth over a few others,” Roach explained.

Whitworth is losing a couple of bigs, a point due to injury and a couple of the Pirates will be studying abroad so the opportunity for earning playing time appears present.

“I was the main scorer for my high school team and a point/shooting guard with Lakeshow,” Roach recalled. “So I can be a floor general or the off guard. I'll bring excitement and someone who makes smart decisions [to Whitworth].” The Pirates as a team shot 47%, 39% and 75% respectively in 2014-15 alongside six player posting assist totals ranging from 49-91, indicating Roach is joining a team featuring solid ball-movement leading to good looks.

Possessing a unique element in his skills set, Roach is actually ambidextrous. “I have the ability to do things both ways. When I was younger, I was left-handed. But I had to learn to properly shoot in the fifth grade and switched to right-handed.”

He has a unique insight into the genesis of his basketball IQ. “I was playing on a basketball team since the fourth grade. Even in my freshman year, I was slower and shorter than I am now. As a sophomore, I grew four inches.” Football was never a go for Roach and his baseball playing came to a close due to a broken elbow in the seventh grade.

Roach cites his grandfather and father as his biggest basketball influences anf the pair were indeed pioneers. “They started the first AAU team in Marin.”

Two particular basketball moments stand out in Roach's memory. “I was a freshman guard on varsity, the sixth or seventh player on the team and it was the league opener. We were down by two but our star player missed a shot. Eventually, I had the ball and hit the game-winning three. The fans stormed the court but there was still time on the clock. The floor was cleared but the other team couldn't get a shot off and then the fans stormed the court again.” The other: “This past summer at the Fab 48 in Las Vegas at Bishop Gorman High. We [Lakeshow] played in the championship game.”

Make that three after his signing with Whitworth.