Editor’s note: We’re excited to announce that we’ve hired two new writers, Hailey Hernandez and Josh Margolis, for the upcoming season. Hailey and Josh will be taking over all of the day-to-day duties that Andrew Vailliencourt had last season and we’re thrilled to have both of them on board.
Make sure to follow Josh on Twitter and look for his coverage in the weeks and months to come. His introduction post follows.
Basketball has always been a large part of my life.
Growing up just outside Minneapolis, I spent much of my youth participating in rec leagues, skills camps and shooting hoops on our driveway with my younger brother Matthew.
During the Timberwolves 2004 run to the Western Conference Finals, my uncle gave my family tickets to a few playoff games.
I was only eight at the time, but the games made quite an impression on me. Never before had I seen such an insane amount of passion, both from players and fans, on display. It truly felt like more than just a game.
I’ve been hooked on basketball ever since.
I didn’t become a Hoosier, however, until much later. During my junior year of high school, my family took a road trip across Indiana touring various colleges. After underwhelming visits to Ball State and Butler, we made our way to Bloomington. It happened to be the weekend of Little 5.
Before the end of the fall of my senior year of high school, I had committed to attending Indiana University.
My senior year at Hopkins High School was my first real taste of covering basketball. A writer for my high school paper, I had the opportunity to cover the state tournament courtside at Target Center alongside Ben Segelbaum (now a sophomore at Indiana working in the athletic department).
In the state semifinal game, Amir Coffey (now a freshman for Minnesota) threw up a 60 foot shot at the end of the fourth overtime to win the game. I tweeted from our school paper’s handle throughout the game, interviewed Coffey outside the locker room and wrote the postgame recap.
That’s when I knew I wanted to work in sports.
After spending my freshman year at Indiana taking in sports from the student section, I became an intern with WTIU/WFIU, the NPR and PBS affiliate for the Bloomington area.
There, I learned how to work in a newsroom setting, collaborating with professional journalists and gaining vital multimedia skills. But I also managed to spend plenty of time covering sports.
I gladly volunteer scores of hours of my time covering the IU basketball team. Over the course of the 2015-2016 season, I covered dozens of press conferences, the majority of home games, producing video pieces, photo slideshows and just about anything else that was asked of me.
Somehow, I convinced my boss to let me cover Indiana’s NCAA Tournament run (on my own nickel). I relished every second of my time in Des Moines and Philadelphia, talking and learning from reporters from across the country, going into locker rooms and talking to various players and soaking everything in.
Throughout my time in Bloomington, I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about IU basketball; the history, the traditions, the legends, and the atmosphere. It’s why I had chills down my body in the hours leading up to the Kentucky game, why I stop and look around every time I have the privilege of walking into Assembly Hall, and why I will drive 11 hours just to cover a basketball game.
There is a lot that makes covering IU basketball so special, and much of it is because of the passionate fanbase. People want to know everything and anything about their Hoosiers, and I’m more than willing to do my part to give them what I can.