8 youthful questions for Taylor Rochestie

TAYLOR ROCHESTIE'S INCREASINGLY prominent role on the No. 14-ranked team in the nation is, in retrospect, nothing less than remarkable. High school in Santa Barbara, a standout freshman season at Tulane, a blown knee, Hurricane Katrinia and now, a season in the middle of the most surprising turnaround in all of college basketball.

Taylor Rochestie has gone from the Big Easy to the big time. He's provided instant energy off the bench, at both ends of the court, all season. And since Nikola Koprivica went down with a season-ending knee injury against Oregon on Jan. 27, his minutes have climbed significantly. His 21 in the win over Stanford on Thursday was a season high and he figures to be up there again Saturday when the 20-4 Cougs host California.

The File On
Santa Barbara, Calif.



6-1, 186 pounds

Named to the 2005 Conference USA All-Freshman team. Ranked second on team in scoring and assists.

Has played in all 24 games this season, averaging 1.4 assists, 2.4 points and 11.5 minutes per outing. Is averaging 17 minutes per game over last three.

Had nine points and two assists in Cougs big win over Washington.

The all-time leading scorer at Santa Barbara High with 1,381 points. Named first-team all league each of his three varsity seasons. Led team to a 22-5 record as a senior, averaging 22.3 points, 5.3 assists, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.8 steals per game. League's Co-Player of the Year. A McDonalds' All-America nominee.


The 6-1 point guard/swingman recently took time to answer a few questions from me -- a 13-year-old Cougar fan -- as part of a weekly column aimed at asking WSU players the questions adults don't seem to think of asking.

CF.C: Why did you decide to transfer to WSU?

Rochestie: Because of Tony Bennett, because of the style of players that were here, and I wanted to come to a school where if the team got rolling the whole town would gather around it and become a basketball town and I think that's what this place is turning into."

CF.C: What effect did Hurricane Katrina have on you and your friends at Tulane?

Rochestie: "Well it really flipped my world around 150 degrees. It was really hard to leave friends and family from there afterward and it really gave me a better perspective on life."

CF.C: What is the best advice your parents have ever given you?

Rochestie: "Um….Well my dad always says, 'If you score more points than the other team, then you are going to win'."

CF.C: What are your least favorite and favorites parts of practices?

Rochestie: "My least favorite part would have to be when we stretch, because I am just anticipating the beginning of practice. My favorite part has to be just doing a defensive drill and getting a big stop, and having the team get really excited."

CF.C: As a kid, did you play any video games?

Rochestie: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ... everyone was playing it. It was at all the pizza places and at every birthday there would be a big arcade and everybody would be playing it."

CF.C: What is the best game you ever played in?

Rochestie: "The best game I ever played in ... wow ... I would have to say an overtime loss during my sophomore year of high school. It was just an overall great game; we had a miracle shot that I made to put us into the first overtime. We ended up losing the game but it's a game I will remember for the rest of my life."

CF.C: What is the biggest shot you ever made?

Rochestie: "The biggest shot, besides the high school one, I would have to say ... (while at Tulane) I hit a game-wining shot against UAB (University of Alabama-Birmingham) and a game- winning shot against Houston."

CF.C: What is your fondest memory of 2006?

Rochestie: "I would have to say just stepping on the floor (in WSU's season opener) again against UAB, because it had been so long since I had last played and it felt good to be back on the floor."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hayden Eller, 13, is an eighth grader in Chelan, Wash., where he's a starting guard on his basketball team. His addiction to crimson and gray started four years ago when he attended his first game at Martin Stadium, a Cougar win over Idaho. His father, Jeff, is a 1985 WSU graduate. Hayden has named his dog Butch, and currently is working to turn his little brother and mom into avid Coug fans.

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