By TJ Davis
In this competitive part of the country, college is already on the minds of high school juniors and seniors, as they decide where to apply, weighing costs, distance, and offerings.
The college decision process becomes a bit more challenging when you’re being pursued by the likes of Duke University basketball Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski—the all-time win leader in Division I college basketball history. Things get even more complicated when you add in University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari—who’s groomed 42 players who have gone on to play in the NBA—and NCAA reigning champion Villanova University’s Coach Jay Wright into the persuasive mix.
For many high school athletes this is a dream, for 16-year-old Leesburg native Jeremy Roach, this is reality.
“I’m proud of him,” said Carole Roach, Jeremy’s mother. “For me, it’s still surreal knowing the level that he’s at. When I look at him he’s a basketball player, when other people look at him they look at this grand talent. Through my eyes it’s still just Jeremy playing basketball.”
Roach, who starts at point guard for Paul VI High School in Fairfax and his travel squad Team Takeover, has already built a lengthy résumé, especially considering he still has two years left of high school. At the high school level, he’s gathered All-American, All-Metro and All-Virginia honors, while helping lead his team to a 55-13 record over his first two years. The team won the VISAA Division I State Championship earlier this year.
The fact that Roach is a member of Team Takeover is an accomplishment in itself. According to PrepHoops, the team is ranked as the second best U17 team in the Amateur Athletic Union, boasting alumni like NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo and the 2018 NBA Summer League MVP Josh Hart. Roach contributed 15 points and five assists in Team Takeover’s 2018 Peach Jam Championship win in late July. To top it off, the 2020 point guard is also a two-time gold medalist as a member of the USA Basketball 2017 U16 team and the 2018 U17 team.
All of it has piqued the interest of some of the country’s top college teams. The five-star recruit has received offers from Villanova, Duke, UVA, University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, University of Southern California, Texas and Loyola Chicago. Roach and his family plan to narrow his options to his top five schools over the next year. While he admits it can be overwhelming at times, the high school junior is thankful for the attention he’s gathered in the recruitment process.
“It’s good right now. It’s not annoying but it can be a little much,” Roach said with a smile.
The 6-foot-2 rising star described himself as a player who can “score at all three levels, defend, and get to the basket and shoot.”
Roach, who has been playing basketball since first grade, is a versatile guard who can do just about anything his coach asks of him. He can take on defenders without hesitation and can easily find his teammates with a clean look that sets them up for high percentage shots. The talented point guard can punish defenders off of the high pick-and-roll either with his jump shot or his ability to dish the ball to his teammates. And he can bring the crowd to their feet with a smooth no-look pass or an explosive dunk—he’s been dunking since the seventh grade.
As talented as he is, Roach is still eager to continue to improve his game.
“[We’re] very proud of him. He puts in the work, we can’t keep him out of the gym,” said his father Joe Roach.
Roach confirmed that he has hopes of playing in the NBA, but for now he’s focused on continuing to hone his game and simply being a teenager, which for him means hanging out with friends and playing plenty of Fortnite.
“I’m proud that he’s able to balance [everything] really well,” Carole Roach said. “It’s important because the process is a lot and you can kind of jump ahead and not enjoy it while you’re in it and start looking forward to college while you still have two more years of high school.”
TJ Davis is an intern at Loudoun Now, studying journalism at Liberty University.