By Zac Alfers
Special to RDR Sports
From a very young age, it was apparent that Tarren Burrola had all the qualities to become a great basketball player. His peers describe him as a hard worker, dedicated to perfecting his craft and when combined with an elite shooting stroke, you get a player who was destined to break records.
That is exactly what Burrola would eventually accomplish following his career at Roswell High School where he played all four seasons without missing a single game. Burrola totaled 1,677 points and knocked down 292 three-pointers during his time at RHS, both school records.
“I’m not the type of person to gloat and I want to mention those people that have helped me throughout my career,” said a humble Burrola. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates being there for me and helping me evolve into the shooter I became. I grew up with so many great players and coaches and that’s who I want to focus on. Breaking these records isn’t just about me.”
When Tarren turned 5 years old, his father Moses “Dude” Burrola earned a spot on the Roswell High School boys’ basketball coaching staff. Tarren followed his dad to and from practice and would often be seen running through drills with the team. Before long, the older guys on the squad took Tarren under their wings and pushed him to improve his game.
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As a freshman, Tarren split time between the junior varsity and varsity teams before catching the eye of Hall of Fame coach Britt Cooper.
“He’s a kid that was always working on his shot,” said Cooper. “Nobody put up more shots than Tarren when I was there. He’s probably one of the best pure shooters I’ve ever had, and I was the head coach at Roswell High for 23 years.”
Entering his sophomore year in 2017, Tarren was primed for a breakout season and went on to set the single-season record for three-pointers with 91 shots from beyond the arch. Surrounded by a surplus of talent, Tarren helped the Coyotes to their fourth state championship over the course of the last 12 seasons.
“It was a great experience,” said “Dude” Burrola when asked what it was like to coach his son. “We didn’t see eye to eye a lot of the time, but we were able to take care of business on the court and still have that father and son relationship off the court. He understood what he needed to do to be better and he worked extremely hard at it. If it was easy, everybody would do it and I think that’s what separates him from other kids. They don’t understand the work that it takes to be great and thank goodness he’s learned that.”
Following the Coyotes’ championship run and Tarren’s record-breaking campaign, opposing teams started to focus more on disrupting Burrola’s shot. He would see the best defenders every night and Tarren couldn’t take a breath on the court without a hand in his face.
Tarren was forced to evolve his game once again and practiced throughout the offseason to speed up his release in order to get shots off quicker. The team and the coaching staff adapted, as well, trying to find new ways to get the ball into Tarren’s hand, implementing off-ball screens and any other techniques at their disposal to alleviate the pressure off of Burrola.
Tarren never let the extra attention bother him and was constantly motivated by his passion for the game.
“If you told me as a kid that I’d be the leading scorer at Roswell High School at the end of my career, I would’ve told you, you’re crazy,” said Burrola. “Being the all-time scoring leader means so much to me because I watched and grew up with so many great guys and to be the one who came out on top, it’s unbelievable. Having my name mentioned with those guys is incredible.”
Currently, the 6-foot-1 sharp-shooter is a sophomore at the New Mexico Military Institute, playing under head coach Sean Schooley.
“I’ve known Tarren for a long time,” said Schooley. “His father played for me when I was the high school coach at the Institute in the early ‘90s and his uncle Chris played for me at the collegiate level so I’m very familiar with him and I watched Tarren grow up. First and foremost with Tarren, he can shoot the ball and you can never have enough good shooters on your team.”
Schooley also added, “Tarren definitely shoots the ball better than his dad, though.”
Tarren is one of the best shooters to ever suit up for the Coyotes and despite all the exceptional talent that has passed through the halls at Roswell High, Burrola’s name will forever be mentioned with the all-time greats.