Local basketball standout plans grand opening for training center

By Marcella Kester - For Times Leader
Melikah Gonzalez, 12, of Wilkes-Barre, shoots a basket at S&S Mind Over Matter. Gonzalez, a seventh-grade student at GAR, frequently practices at the center’s indoor gym. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Isiah Walker, owner of S&S Mind Over Matter training center, puts up a banner on his building on Route 315 in Plains Township on Saturday. He plans a June 1 grand opening. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader

PLAINS TWP. — Isiah Walker calls it a training center, but that might be a bit misleading as the term cannot fully convey the wide array of activities planned.

The NEPA Stars & Stripes and GAR High School girls freshman basketball coach is creating a gym unlike any other in the area on Route 315, and will be holding a grand opening June 1.

“It all started off with a passion and a thought,” Walker said of the space, which he acquired in April. “I’m a basketball guy. I always like to go to the park and other gymnasiums and like to work out, but there’s never a place that you can always go that would be readily available.”

So the Wilkes-Barre resident and former GAR hoops standout came up with the idea for a gym that could be accessible at all hours of the day by its members.

But that’s not the only special thing about S&S Mind Over Matter.

Besides being an all-hours gym, the space will host a variety of community events. Walker explained that various weekly Sunday events — including bingo and a buy, sell and trade auction — will be a summer staple as well as various activities, fundraisers and even camps.

While children were busy dribbling a basketball up and down the indoor court, the 17-year coach explained he wanted to create a safe place for kids to train, particularly at night. The idea reached a new level of importance, he said, after the Wilkes-Barre Area School District announced last week its plans to consolidate the district’s athletic programs.

“I love (other local athletic centers) — they’re all great places to go and take your kids to,” he said. “But now this is almost like a facility for kids to come to and call their own. A sports-of-all-sorts home.”

Walker also wants adults to come in and enjoy programs that will include a weight loss management class, yoga, a scenic painting class and more.

‘Good environment’

The building, located at 1267 Route 315, was at one point an industrial-sized garage. It offers large bay doors in the back that can be opened to reveal a perfect scenic view for painting, as well as half an acre of land out back for multi-use functions.

The gym will operate on a monthly membership fee: $35 for children and $45 for adults. Members will be provided a unique code to be able to enter the building at their desired time, and the space will be under 24/7 monitored surveillance.

Krystle Baranousky is Walker’s friend and operates her own business, Hardcore Fashion, in Wilkes-Barre. She offered to be a sponsor at the gym because she believes it will be a great place for children to have positive experiences.

“I volunteer for the kids,” she said. “Keep them off the street, keep them active, healthy and around a good environment.”

For more information about the center or to get involved, visit S&S Mind Over Matter on Facebook.

Melikah Gonzalez, 12, of Wilkes-Barre, shoots a basket at S&S Mind Over Matter. Gonzalez, a seventh-grade student at GAR, frequently practices at the center’s indoor gym.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL052718dodgeball2.jpgMelikah Gonzalez, 12, of Wilkes-Barre, shoots a basket at S&S Mind Over Matter. Gonzalez, a seventh-grade student at GAR, frequently practices at the center’s indoor gym. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Isiah Walker, owner of S&S Mind Over Matter training center, puts up a banner on his building on Route 315 in Plains Township on Saturday. He plans a June 1 grand opening.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL052718dodgeball1.jpgIsiah Walker, owner of S&S Mind Over Matter training center, puts up a banner on his building on Route 315 in Plains Township on Saturday. He plans a June 1 grand opening. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

By Marcella Kester

For Times Leader