In 1965, the coach of the high school girl basketball team Don Haskins is invited by the Texas Western Miners to be their coach. Despite the lack of budget, Haskins sees the chance to dispute the NCAA and moves with his wife and children to the college dormitory. He recruits seven talented and rejected black players to play with five Caucasian players and formed a legendary team that won the 1966 national championship against the powerful Kentucky. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the beginning of the film, Don Haskins is coaching a girl's basketball game. A standard 5 on 5 game is depicted, however up through the 70s (and in some states 80s and even 90s) High School Girls Basketball was played 9 to a team with the players assigned specific zones that they could not leave at any time. This was also the college rule until 1971. See more »
Coach Don Haskins:
Jason, Don Haskins, Texas Western.
Coach Don Haskins:
Texas Western down in El Paso. Hey, after the game, when you get a minute I'd like to talk to you about playing for me.
Play for you at Texas Western? Thanks, Coach, but I'm partial to winning.
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During the credits, an inset shows several of the actual people involved (Don Haskins, David Lattin, Pat Riley, Orsten Artis, Willie Worsley, Harry Flournoy, and Nevil Shed) commenting about the championship game and its implications. Video of that game is also shown. See more »
The true story of the Texas Western University Miners (now called the University of Texas at El Paso) who defied all odds in 1966 by being the first NCAA basketball team to start five African-American players (led by Derek Luke of "Antwone Fisher" and Mehchad Brooks of "Desperate Housewives" fame) and ultimately winning the national championship. New coach Don Haskins (played superbly by Josh Lucas, one of the most under-rated actors in film right now) has trouble recruiting when he first arrives, but finds players in places like Detroit and Brooklyn. In the civil rights torn south though, getting African-American ball players was highly controversial and even potentially dangerous. It ends up being fitting that the team would meet up with Adolph Rupp (impressive transformation as usual for Jon Voight) and his University of Kentucky Wildcats for the championship that year as UK was one of the last major colleges to integrate its basketball team. Socially important story and highly educational for youngsters who may not be familiar with the importance of this stage in contemporary U.S. and sports history. Great sequences and styles in the tradition of sports classics like "Hoosiers", "Remember the Titans" and "Friday Night Lights". 5 stars out of 5.
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