By JOE LOMBARDI THE JOURNAL NEWS
Original publication: December 25, 2007
The Fox Lane boys basketball team's unlikely run to the state semifinals in Glens Falls in 2004 was an unforgettable
journey for Jon White.
It also proved to be an educational one.
"It was kind of surreal," said White, who was a starting guard and the team's top defensive player. "It was an amazing thing to get caught up in that run.
"Looking back, it wasn't just our team or school. The whole community rallied around it. Every game was sold out. If you walked into a deli, people were talking about it."
Now a junior in college, White is immersed in another community that has a strong bond to its local basketball team whose nickname is Foxes: Marist College.
Though not a member of the men's team at Marist, White is closely identified with it. And when the Red Foxes play in the Holiday Festival this Friday and Saturday at Madison Square Garden, White will share his thoughts on their efforts with members of the team's loyal following.
White is the author of a blog on Marist men's basketball that appears on the Poughkeepsie Journal's Web site. In addition, he co-hosts a weekly two-hour sports-talk show on WMAR 1630, the student radio station, and writes for the student newspaper, The Circle.
"It's good that I'm doing all of them," said White, a Bedford resident.
The sports communication major said he's still getting acclimated to the blogosphere.
"The whole blog thing, I don't really get," he said. "I'm not crazy about the format. It's too informal for me. I pretend it's a sports column."
White's adjustment to broadcasting was much easier - and aided by the fact that the first show he co-hosted in September 2005 was alongside a former Fox Lane teammate, Dustin Aglietti. The two are now roommates.
"At the first meeting for the radio station freshman year, we said, 'Let's do this show together,' " Aglietti said. "It helped us adapt pretty quickly. We kind of got out there and talked about things we were comfortable with - like in Jon's case, the Yankees - and some NFL, too."
Though they now work with different co-hosts on their respective shows, much of the content revolves around Marist basketball - both men's and women's. Aglietti, who handles the Poughkeepsie Journal's Marist women's blog, works with former Lakeland star Ryan Schneider. Though a member of Marist's men's team, Schneider, a transfer from Vermont, still finds time to do play-by-play of women's games as well as the weekly show with Aglietti.
"Jon and Ryan both have very good voices for radio," Aglietti said.
For the Foxes' sectional championship team his junior season, White routinely was assigned to guard the opponent's top scoring weapon - unless it was a post player, in which case 6-foot-8 Taj Finger, now a senior playing at Stanford, got the call. It was often a grueling role because Fox Lane's starters seldom came out of the game.
"My role was to bring defensive intensity to the team," White said.
He said watching Finger, a big-time scorer in high school, bring the defensive intensity for Stanford has been enjoyable.
"I'm very happy for him and proud of him," White said. "He learned how to play defense when we all did. Now he's taken what we did as a team to a higher level of basketball."
Though White is a natural in the broadcast booth, he's not sure if that will be the career path he pursues. He interned this past summer on the sports sales team of National Cable Communications, selling commercial advertising time for networks.
One thing is certain. His development as a writer and broadcaster will help him in whatever line of work he pursues.
"I had a big presentation for a business class the other day, and I noticed I was really speaking well and projecting," he said. "It really gives you more confidence."
Reach Joe Lombardi at email@example.com or 914-696-8239. For an archive of stories in this series, visit lohud.com/catchingup.