The best player in the CIAA believes basketball saved his life.
Senior Bowie State guard Cameron Knox led the conference in scoring and ranked in the top 5 in field goal percentage, three-point makes and steals during the regular season.
Knox also led the league in the distance traveled to become CIAA Player of the Year.
“I’d be in jail or worse,” Knox told the Winston-Salem Journal about what his life could have been without basketball.
The oldest player on the team at 27, Knox was a standout high school basketball in Baltimore, but poor grades left him without a Division I opportunity.
“So after high school I just kind of drifted,” said Knox, who turned to selling drugs to support himself at one point.
It was during a summer basketball game that Knox’s would get a second chance after catching the eye of head coach Darrell Brooks.
Byron Westmoreland, a former star for the Bulldogs, invited Knox to come to Bowie State during the summer to play. It was during those games that Knox caught the eye of Brooks and what he was doing on defense.
“We had a guy who was our point guard at the time (Darren Clark) who could barely get the ball past half-court,” Brooks said.
Brooks then asked Knox if he wanted to come to Bowie State; Knox jumped at the chance. But it took a year and half for Knox to become eligible, and it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“We clashed a lot and he was kicked out of practice — but he always came back,” Brooks said with a laugh.
Knox, who is affectionately called ‘Pops’ by his much younger teammates, was able to get his grades up to become eligible during the 2012-13 season.
He had finally made it.
Knox, who has a 5-year-old daughter and will graduate in December, said providing for her drives him more than ever to be the best on and off the court.
“She’s 5 years old now and she understands that I’m in college and I’m trying to better myself,” Knox said to the newspaper. I’m one of the lucky ones because, like I said, I could have ended up a statistic.”
Brooks, who has seen it all during his time as a coach, says Knox’s journey has been inspirational one.
“He’s probably not the oldest player to have ever played in the CIAA, but from where he’s come from and what he’s done for us, it’s a major success story.”