RUSTON – Louisiana Tech center Joniah White announced Wednesday that he has decided to end his basketball playing career due to heart related health issues.
White missed the vast majority of the 2015-16 season after experiencing heart issues called tacachardia episodes. These ultimately led to a surgical procedure in May of 2016 to install an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (IC) as a precaution for his ventricular tachycardia diagnosis.
White, a 7-foot, 215-pound redshirt junior from Duck Hill, Mississippi, said the decision was not an easy one. However, he felt it was best for his long-term health and future.
“It’s a family decision,” said White. “I have a son that I need to look after and I want to make sure he is able to grow up with me around. I have a lot of faith in this team. If I didn’t then I would feel more pressure to play. We have a great team and a lot of guys who can step up in bigger roles. Spiritually, this is where God is leading me. It was a tough decision, but I am confident in my faith. I have confidence to go where God is leading me.”
Louisiana Tech head coach Eric Konkol said he and the entire Bulldog Basketball family supports the decision by White.
“It’s unfortunate that Joniah is unable to continue pursuing his dream of playing basketball, but his health is most important and he knows the Louisiana Tech Family fully supports him,” said Konkol. “Joniah’s outlook on life and focus on the future have been inspiring to all of us. We are so appreciative of his many contributions to our program and look forward to being a part of the next chapter of his very bright future.”
White signed with the Bulldogs as a three-star recruit. He lettered at Madison Central High School in Mississippi his first three years before finishing his prep career at Grenada High School. He was named to the Dandy Dozen by the Clarion Ledger as one of the 12 best players in the state.
He led Grenada to the Mississippi Class 6A state title game as a senior where he had 15 points and 17 rebounds in the loss. He recorded six triple doubles that season.
During his four years in Ruston, White saw action in 83 games, making 23 starts for the Bulldogs. He will leave the program ranked No. 5 all-time in blocked shots with 124. His career totals also include 259 points, 291 rebounds and 23 steals.
“I want to thank Coach Konkol for his patience,” said White. “His job is not easy. I am so grateful for his belief in me and his support of this decision. I want to thank Mr. Tommy McClelland for his belief in me too. I know a lot of athletic directors might have shied away from a guy playing with my risk, but he believed in me. I want to thank all of the fans for their support during my four years here. They have made the Thomas Assembly Center a great place to play. The family environment is unlike anything else I have experienced.”
White is scheduled to graduate in May with his bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in communications studies. He wants to pursue a career in coaching.
Associate AD/Athletic Communications
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