The village of Chestnut Hill, Mass., is a long way from Torrey Pines High School. This time of year it can get quite cold and blustery, the closest beach isn’t exactly known for its surf, and judging by its size and scope, the campus of its claim to fame, Boston College, is a far cry from the TPHS campus. None of that matters to Joe Rahon, however, a basketball star at Torrey Pines who graduated in June and is in the midst of his freshman year playing for BC’s famed Eagles basketball team.
The Eagles have churned out NBA stars such as the Phoenix Sun’s Jared Dudley and the Boston Celtic’s Sean Williams, something that’s not lost on Rahon.
“The difference between playing basketball for high school and college is intensity of practice,” he explains from the BC campus while waiting for the team’s daily weight training session to begin. “In high school, you can coast through practice because you’re the best player on your team. In college, everyone on your team is on your level, so the coaches expect you to play really hard. Practically everyone is trying to take your spot and fighting for time on the court.”
The road to playing college level basketball, especially for a team as esteemed as BC, can be long and hard. Rahon, who grew up minutes away from the Torrey Pines campus, caught the basketball bug from his brother, James.
“I’ve been playing since I can remember, whether it was just shooting outside with my brother or dad, or at recess at school,” he remembers. “It wasn’t until my brother was going to play basketball at San Diego State that it hit me it was something I could do too.”
Throughout his time playing for Torrey Pines, his brother was there to give him the pointers, tips and insight that he picked up at SDSU, and it’s that guidance which probably made Rahon a standout during his successful high school career.
Says Rahon: “My four years there, we never lost a home playoff game and were always in the CIF finals.” While he notes that “it was as good of an experience as I could have hoped for,” the exception is that during his sophomore year he tore his ACL and was out for a full season, watching from the sidelines and waiting to heal.
When he finally got back on the court, Rahon was a force to be reckoned with and sooner rather than later colleges started to take notice.
“They were on a recruiting trip for another player, and gave me a call to say they were interested,” he explains. “The process started from there.”
What followed was a two-year stretch of wooing by BC.
Said Rahon: “They would call once a week or so and just talk about the college and how their team is doing. They were coming to watch me play whenever they could and I’d send them tapes, but really the whole process is about building a relationship with each other and getting comfortable.”