By Chris Bavender
“Welcome to Hardwood Heaven.” You could say that’s the motto at Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse at Grand Park.
“I mean, this is Indiana. We have to have the best basketball facility around,” said Rod Sinn, director of operations at the fieldhouse. “We want to make this place the destination for youth sports, period.”
And to help make that a reality, Sinn has hired Carlos Knox, assistant coach/player development for the WNBA Indiana Fever, as director of training.
“Carlos just ‘gets it.’ I mean he has played in the NBA, he trains players currently in the NBA. So when I say he knows what it takes to help get kids to the next level, he does,” Sinn said.
“I felt like this was an amazing opportunity, and I wanted to be a part of the development of Indiana basketball players,” Knox said. “I think my ability to reach all athletes as an ex-player and high level coach will really be valuable to our program.”
Knox was brought to Sinn’s attention by former NBA player and Indiana native, Bonzi Wells, who was hired last summer as director of basketball operations for the fieldhouse.
“Carlos was the only person I thought of for this role. I met him years ago, and we just clicked and became friends,” Wells said. “The story of our lives and our vision for basketball is so similar that when this position came up, I called and told him, ‘This is what I want to do, and I want you to be in.’”
Wells – who said he had been “itching to get back into the basketball world” in a coaching position on the college or pro level – believes he will be able to impact so many more youth in his current role.
“This is a new avenue for me, but Carlos has been doing this for a long time. So having him alongside me will be priceless,” Wells said. “I’m blessed that it worked out.”
Knox won’t be building the training program from scratch, however. Current players he trains will follow him to the fieldhouse.
“I train several NBA pro and college players as well as some of the elite high school players,” Knox said. “And then, based on my reputation as one of the top trainers and the rich basketball tradition in the area, I believe most coaches and parents once they find out we have that level of training will sign up for our training program.”
Knox founded the Knox Indy Pro Am which is an eight year league where college and professional athletes come together to play and he will likely bring some of those games to the Fieldhouse.
His vision for what he wants to accomplish in his new role is simple – establish one of the best training programs in the Midwest.
“I see this as a one stop shop deal. You can come in for training, and go and participate in AAU games,” he said. “We also have high definition cameras on the courts so you will be able to receive footage on individual training or from competition games and use that to further your skills.”
And Knox and Wells have no doubt their joint venture will be a success.
“We will be there for the long haul. This is a marathon, not a sprint and we understand that,” Wells said. “We are looking forward to greatness.”