All in the Laatsch family

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

Second in a series on Siblings in Sports

Sports

Jason, (left) and Josh Laatsch have played basketball together since their high school days in Birmingham.
Photo courtesy of Jason and Josh Laatsch.

 

Often, siblings share similar interests, especially when it comes to sports. The NBA has had 61 pairs of brothers in its history. The University of West Florida also is home to many athletic siblings, but only one duo in the sport of basketball.

For the Laatsch family, basketball is a family affair. Junior guard Jason Laatsch and his freshman guard brother, Josh Laatsch, have joined forces on the UWF men’s basketball team. The Laatsch brothers have played on the same basketball team since Josh’s eighth grade year and Jason’s sophomore year in high school. Both brothers attended Briarwood Christian High School in Birmingham, Alabama and played for the school basketball team under their father and head coach, Chris Laatsch.

Jason’s outstanding basketball skills earned him a four-year career on the varsity team in high school where he set numerous records: 1,404 career points, 197 career three-pointers, 73 three-pointers in a single season. Jason was named Most Valuable Player for three seasons, Offensive MVP for two seasons, and served as a team captain his senior year.

Two years behind Jason, Josh followed closely in his older brother’s footsteps. Josh was a five-year varsity letterman for the basketball program, named team MVP for two seasons, and was selected to the All-Shelby County team for two seasons.

Following his prodigious high school career, Jason decided to continue his basketball career at UWF. He became the only freshman to see significant play time in every game of the 2012-13 season, averaging about 18 minutes per match. Unfortunately, he only recorded time in three games of his sophomore season after sustaining a shoulder injury.

While there were many contributing factors to Josh’s decision to also come play for the UWF basketball program, the idea of playing alongside his older brother again had the greatest influence.

“Coming out here, you’ve got the beach, I loved the coaching staff, and of course Jason,” Josh said. “We’ve been best friends since the day I was born, so coming down here, following him, was the best decision for me.”

Josh’s first season at UWF was cut short. He saw court time in two games and was then given a medical redshirt for an arm injury.

Jason, a starter, has seen play time in every game this season and is averaging seven points per game. Coming off his injury, Josh has played in eight games of the 2015-2016 season.

As with any sibling pair, the brothers often get asked who the better player is. Jason and Josh replied that neither can be distinguished as the better payer because they play differently from each other.

Jason and Josh both elaborated on each other’s strengths on the court.

“Josh is a really good shooter,” Jason said. “He rarely misses and he’s also a good ball handler; he rarely ever turns the ball over.”

While Jason elaborated mostly Josh’s skills, Josh expounded on Jason’s basketball IQ.

“Jason is basically a game manager,” Josh said. “He’s good at everything and has the career to prove it. He’s a playmaker and is very knowledgeable about the game.”

While playing on the same team with a sibling often brings out the competitive spirit in many, the Laatsch brothers’ competitive edges push each other to be better every day. Playing alongside each other also serves as an inspiration to play up to their potential.

For a complete men’s basketball schedule, visit the team’s page on goargos.com.

To read our first Siblings in Sports article, click here.