Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine by George Dohrmann

Into the Wild

Read Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine Online Free - Eight years of unfettered access, a keen sense of a story’s deepest truths, and a genuine compassion for his subject allow Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist George Dohrmann to take readers inside the machine that produces America’s basketball stars.
Hoop dreams aren’t just for players. The fever that grips college basketball prospects hoping to strike big-time NBA gold afflicts coaches, parents, and sneaker executives as well. Every one of them has a stake in keeping America’s wildly dysfunctional, incredibly lucrative youth basketball machine up and running—no matter the consequences.

In Play Their Hearts Out, George Dohrmann offers an up-close and unforgettable look inside the maw of that machine. He shares what he learned from his years spent embedded with a group of talented young recruits from Southern California as they traveled the country playing in elite Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) events. It’s a cutthroat world where boys as young as eight or nine are subjected to a dizzying torrent of scrutiny and exploitation. Coaches vie to have them on their teams. Sneaker companies ply them with free shoes and gear. “All-star camps” are glorified cattle auctions, providing make-or-break opportunities to secure the promise of an elusive college scholarship.
At the book’s heart are the personal stories of two compelling figures: Joe Keller, an ambitious AAU coach with a master plan to find and promote “the next LeBron”—thereby paving his own path to power and riches; and Demetrius Walker, a fatherless latchkey kid who falls under Keller’s sway and struggles to live up to the unrealistic expectations his supposed benefactor has set for him. As their fortunes take shape and the pressure mounts—Demetrius finds himself profiled in Sports Illustrated at age fourteen, while Keller cultivates his business empire—Dohrmann weaves in the stories of numerous other parents, coaches, and players. Some of them see their prospects evaporate as a result of poor decisions and worse luck. Others learn how to thrive in a corrupt system by playing the right angles.

Written with incomparable detail and insight, Play Their Hearts Out is a thoroughly unique narrative that reveals the inner workings of an American game, exposing the gritty reality that lies beneath so many dreams of fame and glory.

Title : Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0345508602
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 432 pages


Donnie rated it ★★★★☆

July 25, 2011

All sports fans on my news feed should read this book. Every single one of you. "Play Their Hearts Out" is an eye-opening account of what the players we see on college basketball courts go through before we see them. It's not the rim nailed to a barn, or the neighborhood pick-up game in a cul-de-...

Dave rated it ★★★★★

February 18, 2011

One reviewer billed this book as the Friday Night Lights of AAU basketball, and the book lived up to this lofty standard. The author spent eight years following an AAU team, with much of the focus on the "coach" and the star player, who was once the No. 1 ranked player as an 8th grader. While I w...

Lucy rated it ★★★★☆

August 14, 2011

This is a very interesting book, especially for someone who has a child/children who play sports at a high level. The book illustrates the morally questionable (and highly profitable) "grassroots" basketball system that funnels kids from grade-school age travel through college recruiting. As with...

Derek rated it ★★★★★

December 28, 2010

I really enjoyed this book and became attached to many of the people that Dohrmann follows. At its core, it's a story about Demetrius Walker and the ways in which the grassroots basketball system chews him up and spits him out. At various points I found myself wanting to stop the story to give De...

Nasos Delveroudis rated it ★★★★★

May 15, 2014

Perhaps the best sports book ever written.

Aaron rated it ★★★★★

August 16, 2010

I am a die-hard sports fan. Evidence of this fact is not hard to find ; For instance I spent the majority of yesterday afternoon watching preseason NFL games - All in anticipation of the Broncos opener. (and the debut of Touchdown Jesus Tim Tebow) Basketball, and the NBA's Denver Nuggets rank sec...

Kristine rated it ★★★★★

September 18, 2010

I'm really excited for this one. I won it thru First Reads ... This book took me a little while to get into, but I was SO hooked. It was literally like watching a train wreck and I would keep my husband up at all hours of the night telling him all the outrageous things I had read that day. This st...

Shirley rated it ★★★★★

July 19, 2011

I've watched countless hours of basketball in my life (March Madness is my favorite time of year!) but didn't know much about grassroots youth basketball and just how dominant (most Division I college/NBA players have come out of that system) and corrupt (and unregulated) it is. This is an extrem...

Tom rated it ★★★★★

March 28, 2012

If I read a better book in 2012, I'll be very shocked and pleasantly surprised, as this book is about as good as it gets. The author, George Dohrmann, follows an AAU basketball team and its players,coaches and parents for eight years. This book has been called by some people the "Friday Night Ligh...

Kristen rated it ★★★★☆

November 07, 2010

This book made me so glad that I am a girl. I grew up playing AAU basketball in tournaments all over the nation, and I attended some recruiting camps after receiving letters from colleges in middle school like these kids in the book, but neither my more talented friends, nor I ever faced the craz...

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