Witty and insightful, this isn't the college basketball we hear about on TV. And Bradburd knows what he's talking about.
Steve Pytel is an assistant coach and top recruiter for a university basketball program. His goals are simple. He wants to keep his job and be a head coach someday. Keeping his wife barely makes the list. The team staggers; everyone's days are numbered. Pytel was responsible for landing prized recruits Leonard Redmond and Jamal Davis. Pytel's duties now? Keep Leonard out of jail. Make sure Jamal ignores the advice of his preacher, sidesteps his girlfriend's pregnancy, and puts the ball in the basket. Good thing Pytel doesn't carry around a bagful of scruples. An inventive novel, Make It, Take It sneaks the reader past the press conferences, locker rooms, and huddles of college basketball. Without judgment or sentimentality, Bradburd lays bare the web of conflicts between players and coaches, blacks and whites, revealing the complex humanity of a team's inner circle. Here, every choice has a very real cost.
Rus Bradburd is the author of the controversial Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson (Harper-Collins/Amistad) and a memoir, Paddy on the Hardwood: A Journey in Irish Hoops (UNM Press). He spent fourteen years as a college basketball coach, working for legends Don Haskins and Lou Henson. A regular contributor to SLAM Magazine, his essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and ChicagoÍs Daily Southtown. He is married to poet Connie Voisine and lives in New Mexico and Chicago.
If an NCAA school like UNM is going to give its coach a lifetime of riches, why canÍt the players have a lifetime of educational opportunity say, room, board, tuition, and books for life, even if that means a graduate degree?
Click here to read more from Rus' article for the Albuquerque Journal, "The Difficult Lessons of the Alford Era."