THE NAME LAROCCA WAS ONCE LEGENDARY AROUND HOUSTON FOOTBALL CIRCLES
But that was over 25 years ago.
Josh LaRocca shocked the college football landscape when he quarterbacked the Rice Owls to a win over the mighty Texas Longhorns in 1994. The 19-17 win snapped nearly a 30-year Texas winning streak.
"I don't give my dad much credit," Owen LaRocca jokes. "But I guess that was a pretty big deal. If you don't know about trying to be a high-level athlete, it's hard to understand. He understands and has taught me to never be satisfied. He knows how much work it takes. When I think I've had a pretty good day working out, he reminds me that I didn't do enough."
Josh earned some NFL training camp invites and played in NFL Europe for a few years before getting into commercial real estate.
Owen prefers the round ball, however.
"I grew up playing baseball until the seventh grade," Owen said. "Then I just got obsessed with basketball. I figured out that basketball would be something I would do every day since then. The adrenaline I would get while playing was awesome."
LaRocca dove into the AAU world as an eighth-grader and played for TNBT led by coach Eric Love. "I had a great coach who invested in me," he said. "The game just clicked, and I was in the gym five days a week and playing a bunch of games on the weekend. I figured out what I was good at and what I needed to work on."
He entered FBCA and played on a dominant junior varsity team as a freshman. As a sophomore, he made the jump to varsity on a team that went to the TAPPS Final Four.
"The biggest difference this year was the vocal aspect of my game," he said. "As a sophomore, I was listening and learning from the older guys. This year I was one of the guys to set the tone. There were no days off. I had to be the guy to get on the younger guys if they were taking a day off. I learned that you have to be the first in the gym and the last to leave."
The Eagles finished third in district and were bounced in the first round of the postseason.
"The ultimate goal is to win a championship," he said. "Two years ago, I got the taste of state. This year, we played well but the season ended abruptly. My senior year, I want to be efficient as I can be before moving onto the next level. "I want people to remember what we are capable of – to remember what we did a couple of years ago. We want to build this program into a consistent winner."
When he's not hooping, the only-child likes doing what most teenagers do but also giving back.
"I like to play video games but I also like running camps for kids," he laughed. "I'm an only child so I don't have the daily tasks of dealing with siblings. They are pretty fun and I'm good with them. Overall, I'm a pretty boring person. I sleep and play basketball."
He watches hoops as well, which helps hone his game.
"I love to watch Devin Booker and Tyler Hero," he said. "I modeled my jump shot after theirs. They have great skill sets, which is key for me when I play against more athletic players with size. I have to out-play people with my shot and basketball IQ."