June 18, 2013

He'll be a Hall of Famer

Westbrook's Joe DeRoche is among many who will be honored at Worcester, Mass.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Growing up in Westbrook in the 1970s and 1980s, Joe DeRoche gravitated towards basketball. It was easy to do. The city was a basketball hotbed.

Joe DeRoche, seen in his Thomas College days, is the school’s all-time scoring leader.

Also entering the New England Basketball Hall of Fame

Others with Maine connections being inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame:

High School Players - Boys

Mike McGee, Lawrence High

Matt Rossignol, Van Buren High

Gary Towle, Cony High

High School Players - Girls

Heather Ernst, Mt. Blue

Sarah Marshall, McAuley

Amy Vachon, Cony

High School Coaches - Boys

Art Dyer, Medomak Valley

Tony Hamlin, Penquis Valley

Jim Ray, Cape Elizabeth

Roger Reed, Bangor

High School Coaches - Girls

Heidi Deery, Rangeley

Gavin Kane, Dirigo

Division I Players - Men

Jim Stephenson, Maine

Division I Player - Women

Jamie Cassidy, Maine

Division I Coach - Men

Brian McCall, Maine

Division I Coach - Women

Sharon Versyp, Maine

Division III Coach - Men

Al Sokaitis, USM

Division III Players - Men

Jay Corey, UNE

Joe DeRoche, Thomas

Chris Jerome, Bowdoin

John Jordan, USM

Robert Patterson, Bowdoin

Steve Schuler, St. Joseph's

Herb Taylor, Bates

John Wassenberg, St. Joseph's

Kevin Whitmore, Colby

Division III Players - Women

Joanna Brown, USM

Eileen Flaherty, Bowdoin

Theresa Langlois, Colby

Ashley Marble, USM

Division III Coach - Men

Tim Gilbride, Bowdoin

Division III Coach - Women

Jim Murphy, Bates

Ronald S. Perry, Category - Men

Jim Graffam, St. Joseph's

Larry Schiner, Maine/New Jersey City College

Ronald S. Perry Category - Women

Emily Ellis, Maine

Lani Boardman-Silversides, York/UVM

Scholar-Athlete Category - Men

Andrew Hippert, Bowdoin

Joseph Jabar, Colby

William Cohen, Bowdoin

Scholar-Athlete Category - Women

Heather Marandola, Mt. View/Swathmore

Pathfinder Award

Brett Brown, San Antonio Spurs

Gymnasium of Distinction

Portland Expo

Administrator

Bob Whytock, Cony

Contributors

Bob Cimbollek, Bangor

Eddie Griffin, South Portland

Deb Smith, Maine Senior Games

Semi-Professional - Men

Thomas Gibson, Maine Semi-Pro League

Teams - High School Boys

Lewiston High, 1960

Teams - High School Girls

Houlton High, 1985

Media Award

George Hale

Referee - Men

Carl Merrill, Harpswell

Icons

Joanne McCallie, Maine

Edward "Bo" McFarland, Bowdoin

Dick Whitmore, Colby

With friends Jay Corey, Dick Stockwell and others, DeRoche would spends hours shooting in Stockwell's backyard or at the Westbrook Pool courts.

That group would win a Class A state title in 1984 for the Blue Blazes and DeRoche would win the Vinal Trophy as the Western Maine tourney's MVP.

DeRoche went on to Thomas College, where he became the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,218 points and a two-time NAIA All-American.

Now DeRoche is headed to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as an inductee. The ceremony will take place on Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

"It's a very nice honor," said DeRoche. "My basketball career seems so far removed."

DeRoche works as a senior program analyst for L.L. Bean, and lives in Westbrook with his wife, a four-year old daughter and a stepson.

DeRoche is part of a large group of Mainers being inducted in various categories. DeRoche will be the first person associated with Thomas inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

DeRoche said he wasn't a big scorer in high school because Westbrook had such a balanced attack. He could score when he needed to, but that wasn't part of the strategy.

"Playing at Westbrook was a great experience," said DeRoche. "My first year in high school was also Coach Art Dyer's first year. I learned a lot from Coach Dyer, who instilled a winning mentality. I averaged 11 to 12 points a game my senior year."

DeRoche said his love of basketball grew even more watching the great battles between Westbrook and South Portland in the late 1970s. The atmosphere was great at packed Warren Gym. He and his friends also used to watch USM play.

At Thomas, Coach Dick Meader encouraged DeRoche to score. And score he did. De-Roche scored a record 63 points against St. Joseph's College as the Terriers upset the Monks.

"I refined my shooting at Thomas," said DeRoche.

DeRoche knew he wanted to attend Thomas before his senior year in high school.

"I went to Pine Tree Basketball Camp, which used to be at Colby College," he said.

"Dick Meader, my coach at Thomas, was the camp's co-owner. I was interested in studying business and computers. Computers were in their infancy when I started college."

"We needed Joe to score for us to be successful," said Meader, who has been the head basketball coach at the University of Maine at Farmington since 1993.

"He was a great scorer and at 6-foot-4, had guard skills. He was strong enough to post up and was a very good foul shooter. Joe was a complete player. He had some big games for us. I must have attended 14 of his games his senior year at Westbrook. I certainly knew he was going to be a good player, but I didn't think we had a chance of getting him at Thomas. I thought a Division I school would sign him."

DeRoche didn't forget his time at Meader's basketball camp and chose Thomas.

After college, DeRoche played in some men's leagues for a few years and pursued his love of hunting, fishing and snowmobiling, which he still enjoys.

Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

 

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