shooting long shots, he tends to follow his cousin onto a life of gang-
banging and drug dealing. Kenyon (Rob Brown), the forward, performs
fairly well in both athletic and academic areas, but he has impregnated
his girlfriend, which results in his impulse to make the right choices.
Junior Battle (Nana Gbewonyo), the team’s starting center, can barely
read a newspaper chronicling his brilliant contributions to team defense.
One science teacher describes Junior as a solar eclipse because he is
absent from classes all the time.
What’s worse? Not only that the team holds misery that their
coach could not share as an outsider, but the educational system,
represented by the apathy and cynicism of Principal Garrison (Denise
Dowse), who has completely given up on the idea that these high school
basketball players might be educated. Different from other faculty
members, Carter is concerned about the academic performance of his
players as well as their basketball skills because, from his own
experience, he knows that some of his players will end up in jail without
higher education because of the environment around them. His
ambitions for the team, though motivated by kindness, are so intense
that his techniques fuel an antagonistic relationship with Principal
Garrison, who represents the status quo in the educational system.
There is a conversation between Carter and Garrison that reveals the
coach’s care for his students while showing how the principal sees him
as a rule breaker and criticizes the coach for locking up the gym to make
the players study. The principal says, “Your job is to win the basketball
games, Mr. Carter, and I suggest you to start doing your job” to which
the coach replies, “And your job is to educate these kids, and I suggest
you start doing yours.”
The film depicts Carter quite well as a character not only
through his rigorous training and tough requirement but also through
the controversies he ignites. The contracts Carter signs with these
teenagers or “young sirs” as he calls them requires players to
maintain a 2.3 grade point average, to show up five minutes prior to
practice, and to wear neckties on game day, which is strongly opposed
by their parents at first. Moreover, the dramatic climax occurs when
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