PLAYERS AND PRETENDERS by Charles Rosen

PLAYERS AND PRETENDERS

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Age Range: 4 - 11
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Upstate New York's little and liberal Bard College is no Indiana U.--and when they picked novelist and sportswriter Rosen (Have Jump Shot Will Travel; God, Man and Basketball Jones) to coach the 1979 Bard basketball team, they weren't getting Bobby Knight. A believer in what you might call no-fault basketball--easy on the competitiveness and stats and publicity, heavy on the personal, ""Zen"" satisfactions--Rosen took a Bard team that was 4-11 the year before and whipped them, in '79, into a team of. . . 1-16. But everyone had fun--especially cracking up in the team van over the monologues of hotshot Lance Lavender, and forming a generally mellow bond. Readers, though, will find less joy with the book itself. Meticulous transcriptions of Bard Running Red Devils' games and scrimmages are amiably loose and unpressured (""Greg is reckless with the ball, and Steve quickly assumes control. 'Zone Two!' he says. Lance is hustling and rebounding with fervor, but nobody can get him the ball. Then Steve gets blotted three times by the same double-pick play. 'Talk to him, Lance! Let him know! Help out, Ken!' ""); but in simply recording the play scrapbook-style, and leaving out any drama (if there never was any drama, why the effort in the first place?), this laid-back coach has thrown your basic air-ball.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1981
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston