FIVE GOOD BOYS by Leo Rutman

FIVE GOOD BOYS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The City College basketball-fixing scandal of the Fifties--fictionalized. The team: Allie Schuster, the quiet brain who's able to endlessly delude himself that he's done nothing really wrong; Vic Irving; Jason Sampson, who first led the others to the gamblers (who paid them to go either above or below the point spread); Ray Arnold; and Otis Lamont, who resisted longest, but finally went along. For ""New York College"" basketball coach Ed Stilky, these kids are ""the Renaissance. Ed Stilky would crown this era with five good boys. Ed Stilky had been waiting twenty years for these kids. Twenty years for five good boys who could fly."" But as the boys win both the NIT and NCAA championships in the same year, they are meanwhile accepting anywhere from $500 to $1000--each--to keep the spread the way the bettors want it. And they finally get caught as a result of non-coordination: some players dealing with different gamblers, a different spread. True, if New York collegiate sports of the period is your thing, Rutman generously conveys the feel--if not quite as well as Stanley Cohen in The Game They Played (1977). But most readers will find the prose too sticky to dribble through: ""His eyes were big as dollar signs""; or ""Jason Sampson, who stalked the court like Adonis. Six foot three inches of sinewy muscle moving with the grace of a wild Gypsy."" And the sugary l-Love-New-York approach, heavy on platitudes, will please only the most softly nostalgic fans--while others will prefer to take the story, straight, from Cohen, who's no less compassionate about the players' half-helpless entanglement.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1982
Publisher: Viking