Reviews for Cinderella : Inside the Rise of Mid-major College Basketball

Booklist Reviews 2007 February #2
This chronicle of the rise of "mid-major college basketball" (teams in the middle strata of the NCAA) chronicles the historic and headline-grabbing Final Four drive of the George Mason Patriots during the 2005-06 season. The author writes with enormous enthusiasm, almost breathlessly, as though he's so excited about the story he is telling that he can barely contain himself. Litos was granted full access to the Colonial Athletic Association's teams--players, coaches, the works--and he stumbled into some major news stories along the way, such as the rape trial of one of the players and the shooting of another. Some readers may be reminded of the energetic 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams, which also captures the thrill of the game, and the dreams of its young players. The book fairly bubbles over with excitement, an underdog story so uplifting that readers will cheer--out loud, mind you--at the end. A must-read for college basketball fans. ((Reviewed February 15, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2007 April

Gr 8 Up-- The remarkable 2006 NCAA tournament run of the little-known George Mason University men's basketball team sparked a national wake-up call on the quality and status of less-celebrated, "mid-major" Division I collegiate basketball programs. This sportswriter's account of the 2005-2006 season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) focuses primarily on the roller-coaster wins, losses, rivalries, and aspirations of the top six teams in the league: Old Dominion, George Mason, UNC-Wilmington, Hofstra, VCU, and Northeastern. As they vie for more than one league bid to the NCAA tournament, dedicated coaches like Jim Larranaga, Tom Pecora, Jeff Capel, and Blaine Taylor; key players like T.J. Carter, Isaiah Hunter, Tony Skinn, and Lamar Butler; and League Commissioner, Tom Yeager, recognize the impact of RPI ratings, non-conference scheduling, TV exposure, and limited finances. Ultimately and fortuitously, two CAA teams got bids for the first time in 20 years. Both the league tournament winner, UNC-Wilmington, and conference champ, George Mason, entered the NCAA's storied and lucrative "March Madness" tournament. This title provides a valuable perspective on the economic and competitive struggles of mid-major teams to build their programs and to demonstrate their parity with perennial powers. Litos's insights on mid-major issues and dilemmas are embedded in a lively chronicle of CAA games, personalities, and traditions. Although basketball fans in general will gain a better understanding of the breadth of Division 1 basketball, this title will appeal primarily to fans who are already acquainted with the CAA teams.--Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC

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