Noah LaRoche ’06 takes a big leap of faith
What would impel a young college graduate to leave a perfectly good job in his field with no real prospects in sight? For Noah LaRoche ’06, it was a passion for basketball.
LaRoche’s story begins in 2003, the year he transferred to Saint Joseph’s. “Noah was one of my early recruits,” says Rob Sanicola, who was in his first year as head coach of men’s basketball. “Coach took a chance on me,” recalls LaRoche, who hadn’t played basketball since high school. The Monks acquired a hard-working point guard, and Noah acquired a lifelong mentor.
LaRoche graduated with a degree in finance and took a job with Traveler’s Insurance. But some of Coach Sanicola’s risk-taking must have rubbed off. After months of soul-searching, LaRoche left his job to focus on a player development program called Integrity Hoops, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Although it was “more of a hobby at that time,” he took a chance that it would get him where he wanted to be.
Fortunately, Coach Sanicola still had his back. “Coach has always been there for me,” says LaRoche. “He supported my decision, and through his connections, things began to fall into place.”
Path to the Pros
Shortly after LaRoche quit his day job, Coach Sanicola introduced him to Hank Smith, head coach at Emerson College. That was the foot in the door that he needed.
Smith linked LaRoche to Mike Procopio at Attack Athletics in Chicago, and for two summers he worked under world-renowned trainer Tim Grover, whose elite client list includes Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Charles Barkley, and other NBA stars. This experience earned LaRoche a job at Tilton Academy in New Hampshire, followed by a stint with a successful Chinese Basketball Association team. The next year, he made it to the NBA, working with the coaching staff of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Today, LaRoche splits his time between the East and West Coasts. As a player development consultant for the Wasserman Media Group, an agency that represents over 50 WNBA and NBA players, he flies each spring to Los Angeles, where he helps college players prepare for the draft. In the summer, he works with pros like Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and Diana Taurasi. And in the fall and winter, it’s back to Portsmouth and Integrity Hoops, where he helps players develop skills, character, and “basketball IQ.”
The mission of Integrity Hoops is to positively transform lives through basketball, which sounds a lot like Noah LaRoche’s own life experience. “Noah pushes himself to grow mentally, physically, and emotionally,” Coach Sanicola explains. Whatever risky decisions face him in the future, LaRoche knows he can count on the support and friendship of the coach who once took a chance on a rookie player.