Kinnon LaRoses competitive basketball career got off to an efficient start and a little sooner than he expected.
As a kindergarten student at St. Marguerite DYouville Academy in Ogdensburg he practiced with the second grade team, which his father, Steve LaRose, coached and featured older brothers Breton and Cavan as teammates.
When some players were late for the first game, Kinnon was inserted into the starting lineup and scored the first basket of the game.
Kinnon stepped right in and scored off a pass from his brother Cavan, Steve LaRose recalled.
That set the tone for the ensuing years where Kinnon LaRose played successfully with his brothers and other older players in Biddy Basketball, Howland Pump Youth Basketball, AAU teams and at the junior varsity and varsity levels of the Ogdensburg Free Academy program. Today, after his junior season, he is the Times All-North Northern Athletic Conference MVP.
This season, he developed into an athletic, 6-foot-3, prototype hybrid performer who can play and defend all five positions. He averaged 23 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals per game; sank 60 threes and converted 70 per cent of his two-point attempts.
He became a co-captain for a 22-2 Blue Devil squad that averaged 82 points per game while earning a 14-0 NAC Central Division title, a second straight Class B Championshipand a berth in the state Final Four, where it dropped a 74-67 decision to eventual state and Federation champion Westhill.
While Kinnon is a great pure shooter, it is his passing ability and court sense that amazes those who have watched him play the most, said OFA coach Mark Henry. He plays with great poise, lets the game come to him and plays at his best in big games.
In the course of the marvelous junior season, LaRose is drawing interest from Division I schools. While displaying his new wave skill package, the soft-spoken LaRose constantly displayed an old school approach to the task at hand, placing equal importance on a catchable pass, slam dunk or double-team steal.
We had a great season and what I miss the most is just going to practice and playing with those guys. It was really awesome because everyone was so unselfish, said LaRose, who believes that the team was so special because of the bond of leadership bond between himself and fellow co-captains Matt Piercey, defensive stopper Colin Ross, and sixth-man Conor Hannan.
If someone was having off game, we always picked each other up, he said. Everyone did everything they could so the others could succeed.
Preparing to expand his court presence as a junior, he dedicated himself to improving his defense and leadership skills. That offseason work culminated in a positive experience at the Duke University Summer Camp.
I knew that I had to become more sound on defense and get everyone involved in the game, he said.