An inventive novel, Make It, Take It sneaks the reader past the press conferences, locker rooms, and huddles of college basketball. Without judgment or sentimentality, Rus Bradburd lays bare the web of conflicts between players and coaches, blacks and whites, revealing the complex humanity of a team's inner circle. Here, every choice has a very real cost.
Steve Pytel is an assistant coach and top recruiter for a university basketball program. His goals are simple. He wants to keep his job and be a head coach someday. Keeping his wife barely makes the list. The team staggers; everyone's days are numbered. Pytel was responsible for landing prized recruits Leonard Redmond and Jamal Davis. Pytel's duties now? Keep Leonard out of jail. Make sure Jamal ignores the advice of his preacher, sidesteps his girlfriend's pregnancy, and puts the ball in the basket. Good thing Pytel doesn't carry around a bagful of scruples.
Rus Bradburd is the author of the controversial Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richard (HarperCollins/Amistad) and a memoir, Paddy on the Hardwood: A Journey in Irish Hoops (University of New Mexico Press). He spent fourteen years as a college basketball coach, working for legends Don Haskins and Lou Henson. A regular contributor to SLAM Magazine, his essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and Chicago's SouthtownStar. He is married to poet Connie Voisine. They live in New Mexico and Chicago, Illinois.