The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame honors high school basketball players and coaches. Fourteen men and 11 women will be inducted in 2014.
The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame honors high school basketball players and coaches. Fourteen men and 11 women will be inducted in 2014.
NEW CASTLE, Ind. — With March Madness coming to an end, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame is the perfect place to celebrate and learn about the sport.

You can feel the history and heritage of basketball come to life as you walk through the halls of the museum. Whether you want to learn more about Indiana’s star players, see how the game has changed or take a step back in time, there’s something for all basketball lovers to enjoy.

The assistant director of the Hall of Fame, Sharon Roberts, shared facts about the museum and tips on how to make the most of a day at the venue:

Q: What are the highlights of the Basketball Hall of Fame?

A: We have several interactive exhibits. One where you can take the game-winning shot is very popular. We also have “you make the call.” You listen to the recording of the last few seconds of a great game, then you can record the end yourself and play it back.

Q: How long has the Hall of Fame been around?

A: We opened in New Castle in June of 1990. This will be our 24th year. I’ve worked for the Hall of Fame for 26 years. Before the building was completed I was hired and I drove to Indianapolis for 11 months during the process.

Once we moved into the building, it took about a year to get all the exhibits up and ready to go. It’s been a joy, that’s why I’m still here. I’m going to retire January of next year. I’ve met many wonderful people, from Coach Wooden to the kids that come in — everybody has a different story.

Q: Why is the building in New Castle?

A: They had a Hall of Fame in Indianapolis that started back in 1962. It was basically just plaques and pictures. They decided in 1987 to do this new project and build a new facility, hire a director.

So they had a search and the word got out about it. There were 13 communities who put together a proposal as to why their community would be the place to have it.

New Castle, being right next door to the world’s largest high school field house and being close to Interstate 70, had the best opportunities for the Hall of Fame.

Q: What players or coaches are guests most interested in?

A: People come and want to know about Coach John Wooden and Larry Bird. They are two of the most asked about gentlemen.

Q: Why does Indiana have such a strong connection to basketball?

A: We have people from all over the country that come in and say, “Basketball is just different in Indiana.” There’s a lot of history here. The Hall of Fame has all of the history for Indiana about basketball — from the small schools to the big schools.

A long time ago, one of the traveling trophies for the girls team was a rolling pin with ribbons on it. There’s all kinds of history there. The uniforms have changed, the basketballs have changed — the game has even changed from when it started in 1891 to now.

Q: How many people are inducted into the Hall of Fame each year?

A: There are 14 men and 11 women each year. They have to have either played or coached high school basketball. About 1,000 people will attend the Men’s Induction Banquet this year. They will come and look at their displays, then attend a reception in Indianapolis.

Q: What’s one of the Hall of Fame’s best-kept secrets?

A: The 70-plus volunteers we have would be our best-kept secret. They help with many activities, as well as day-to-day operation of the museum. Just today we had eight volunteers come to help with a tour of 107 students.