Darcy Frey's landmark and heartbreaking story of a year in the life of four high school seniors from the Coney Island projects who are led down the primrose path of college scholarships and a possible life in the NBA. Unscrupulous coaches, shady recruiting policies, and winking sneaker companies are all put under the harsh light of this superb, disturbing book.
Coney Island, Brooklyn, once New York City's playground, is now an archetypal ghetto, filled with high-rise housing projects and populated almost exclusively by African-Americans. High schoolers there attend Abraham Lincoln High, known all around the East Coast for its outstanding basketball teams, where players see the sport as their way out of second-class citizenship. In his first book, Frey, a contributing editor at Harper's and the New York Times Magazine, has composed a sensitive account of a year in the lives of four exceptional players (three seniors and one freshman), their coach and their families, and he shows that the game can indeed be a means of escape in spite of their school's poor academic reputation. But the way out is fraught with difficulties. For instance, Frey offers devastating anecdotes about dishonest college recruiters and about the NCAA. This excellent book is not only about basketball but about realizing a dream, and its appeal should be very wide. (Nov.)