I read the book in 8th grade (1974) but it was set definitively in the late 40's though no dates were ever given.

It was about a selfish, calculating basketball player entering a junior college to set a reputation and be picked up by a four year college. In the setting a guard (no shooting guards apparent in the book) was the absolute desire of any real program as he set the table for the whole team. Shooting skills would lower his value and his defensive skills were not of too much interest. He planned to do precisely that, be the perfect point guard (today's name) and force his teammates to be killer with his perfection. Then ditch them for a four year college. His past was that he played for an Army team under the absolute best Army coach (who was perhaps the best coach in America). But gosh, he made no mention of that in getting on the team.

As the season progressed his humanity developed drip by drip and eventually he did a little shooting and a bit more defensive work. Finally, in the championship game, he had to pour in the points like Jordan AND take over guarding the other team's center (him 6', the center 6'9" or so) and utterly shut him off with powerful skills never before shown. This sacrificed his future (he was sure) but by then he was man enough it was worth it.

Afterwards, the coach revealed he had contacted the Army coach and knew his whole story (which was never explained much, but even at 14 I could see he'd been an utter psychopath in his selfishness and almost certainly asked to leave with no offer of recommendation to anyone, hence the JuCo and his plan).

The book was in perfect shape and I dimly knew then (1974) that tall men had once been considered wubbly, not dominant, but Mican proved that foolish since the early 50's so I think it was set before then. The Army did have full leagues for all sports back then too, kind of like the AAU does today. I know it COULD have been written in 1973 even, but since the setting would have been more commonly known back more like 1950 or 1960, I have always thought it was written more like 1955 to 1960 at the latest.

I remember no portion of th etitle, no names from the book, no author, just nothing to do a successful Google searh (experience) or maybe not the right ideas.

I reallllly want to read it again so if anyone can tell me the title and maybe the author, I'd be a happy man...

  • Welcome to the site! This is a really good and detailed ID question, +1. – Rand al'Thor Dec 1 '18 at 10:58

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