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His (near) championship season

For the Yale men's basketball team, the 2011-12 season was its best in a decade. For writer Ed Breslin, it was more like a religious experience.

Breslin asked head coach James Jones to make him a special assistant coach, giving him courtside and locker room access to the team throughout the season. The result: The Divine Nature of Basketball: My Season Inside the Ivy League, published this month.

The New Haven Register describes the book as "a Plimpton-like celebration of college basketball as told by one of its biggest fans." Breslin's "enthusiasm is contagious, and it’s hard not to become a Yale fan, too," says an Ivy Hoops Online review:

Breslin does an excellent job giving the full dynamics of the team and we begin to appreciate each of the players. There’s Greg Mangano, the star and low post stud, who can float out to the perimeter. There’s Austin Morgan, a sniper from downtown, who is frequently Mangano’s inside-out partner. And there’s Reggie Willhite, a fearless defender, who is the glue guy that any team needs to be successful.

Another reviewer, by contrast, considers the book an "oh too detailed and lifeless account" that misses "an opportunity to examine factors of race and class in the most elite league and one of the most storied universities in that league."

But we'll give the last word to Booklist, via Amazon: "Breslin shows how beautiful—even, yes, divine—the college game can be away from the national spotlight.”

Filed under men's basketball, Ed Breslin
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