A SEASON INSIDE: One Year in College Basketball by John Feinstein
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A SEASON INSIDE: One Year in College Basketball

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another ""insider"" look at college basketball by Feinstein, whose A Season on the Brink was one of the biggest sellers of 1987. Feinstein, who with this entry bids fair to be crowned the Roger Kahn of basketball, takes his concept of following Coach Bobble Knight one step further here. This time, he follows the entire national doings in the college ranks from October 15, 1987--opening day--through to the drama of the Holy Grail of college basketball: the ""Final Four"" at the NCAA tournament in March of 1988. It is his stated intention to ""explain the culture"" of college basketball, and this book succeeds as no other book about the game does. After watching 104 college games last season, Feinstein is able to juxtapose the Villanova team preparing for their NCAA game with a rollicking songfest alongside the somber mood imposed on the Indiana players by Coach Knight the previous year. ""My God,"" thought the author, ""these are a bunch of kids who are going to play a game."" Feinstein finds basketball's allure in the fact that since only 12 players are needed to field a team, and one or two stars can make a team, theoretically small schools can become giant killers. Meanwhile, he crisscrosses his narrative throughout the book--as he follows such coaches as Massimino of Villanova (""the Danny DeVito of Coaches""), North Carolina State's Jim Valvano (who ""marketed himself and his championship into a business worth $750,000 a year"") and Kansas' Larry Brown, who inaugurated the tradition of practicing at 12:01 a.m. on opening day. This is not just sports fluff. Feinstein covers important subjects, such as drugs and recruiting, the latter of which now gets intense in a player's junior year of high school (Coach Valvano is quoted: ""If you are a decent human being on any level, you must hate what we do in recruiting""). A boon to hoop fans, then, and another winner for Feinstein.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Villard/Random House