From Publishers Weekly
Coney Island, Brooklyn, once New York City's playground, is now an archetypal ghetto, filled with high-rise housing projects and populated almost exclusively by African Americans. High schoolers there attend Abraham Lincoln High, known all around the East Coast for its outstanding basketball teams, where players see the sport as their way out of second-class citizenship. In his first book, Frey, a contributing editor at Harper's and the New York Times Magazine, has composed a sensitive account of a year in the lives of four exceptional players (three seniors and one freshman), their coach and their families, and he shows that the game can indeed be a means of escape in spite of their school's poor academic reputation. But the way out is fraught with difficulties. For instance, Frey offers devastating anecdotes about dishonest college recruiters and about the NCAA. This excellent book is not only about basketball but about realizing a dream, and its appeal should be very wide.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
For many adolescents on Coney Island, basketball is their only escape from the urban hell of poverty, crime, and drugs. The Last Shot chronicles a group of teenagers playing for one of the best teams in New York, the Abraham Lincoln Secondary School Railsplitters. These young males continually cope with circumstances beyond their control in a society that has failed miserably to provide a safe environment and, more importantly, a good education. The author, who won a National Magazine Award for the story upon which this account is based, also explains how those living in high-risk areas suffered the most when the National Collegiate Athletic Association raised the standards of acceptable SAT scores for athletes. The young men whose stories Frey so poignantly captures exist in a world of "mean streets and basketball dreams."
I was in college at the time this book was written working as an intern for the athletic dept. of a major division I college, and I remember Tchaka Shipp. It has been 20 years since this book was first published, but besides the player's names, I don't know if much has changed. This is the second or third book I have read about the high-stakes of basketball in the boroughs of New York. Darcy Frey does a masterful job of weaving in the individual stories of each player that he followed for almost a year as well as the tumultuous world around them and the people desperate to save the lives of any boy who has enough talent to get out of Coney Island.