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JD Danforth getting kids back on basketball court during pandemic

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WINNEBAGO (WREX) — After months of being cooped up with few options to play, JD Danforth has given local athletes the chance to lace up the shoes and get back to playing basketball.

“During the pandemic it was tough for all of us when the gyms got shut down, and luckily we were able to find this gym and resume training here," said Danforth. "It's just been a good outlet during these times, these kids need an outlet, somewhere they can work on their game and work on their skill and I'm just glad I'm able to provide that."

Danforth is Fred VanVleet's step brother and sees the impact that Fred has made in the community as an inspirational figure for the youth.

"Fred, you know coming from Rockford, being as active in the community as he is, I think the kids are able to see him, touch him, and realize that it can happen for them," said Danforth. "He comes from the same place that a lot of these kids came from so I just think it makes it more of a reality that they can achieve great things if they put the work in."

For the kids, working with JD helps bring out the best in them.

"It's been great man, JD is a great guy," said Guilford freshman Malachi Johnson. "He's always willing to train anybody no matter what it is and I just love working with him, he's helped develop my game ever since I came here a month and a half ago so it's just been a great experience."

Auburn's Rob Chaney is a junior for the Knights. He missed his sophomore year due to injury. He loves getting back on the court again with a trainer that pushes him to excel.

"It means a lot he just pushes us to be better," said Chaney. "Then at the end when we compete sometimes he competes with us so it just makes us better."

JD Danforth, working with local basketball players on their game, while also serving as a role model.

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Sam Knox

Sam joined the WREX news team in the Spring of 2020.

He graduated from Emerson College in May of 2020, just two days before moving to Rockford to take the job at WREX as a Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter. He majored in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Sports Communication.

Sam is originally from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and has been an avid sports fan his whole life. He played basketball and baseball in high school, and he went on to play collegiate baseball at Emerson.

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