Sunday, October 2, 2016


The Legends Club is renowned sportswriter John Feinstein's latest effort, focusing on three of the most famous and influential college basketball coaches of our lifetimes: Jim Valvano, Dean Smith, and Mike Kr--well, Coach K, because I can't spell his name. The book does focus on the thirteen years between 1980, when K and Valvano arrived at Duke and North Carolina State, respectively, and 1993, when Valvano died of cancer. But there is a huge amount of interesting material in here, about the prickly sides of both Smith and K, and the way Valvano handled his sickness and death with the most dignity and class that I have ever seen a public figure do. But more than the coaches, this is a short chronicle of the way college basketball has evolved over the past thirty-five years. All of these coaches depended heavily on seniors; now, most basketball players of any quality are one-and-dones, in the NBA after one college season. The only one who's had to adjust is K--and Duke is still good every year, so the adjustments have been made.
I tend to think Feinstein is overrated. But this is an excellent effort, especially if one likes college basketball.

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