“A reporting tour de force and an utterly gripping account… “Outside Shot” unmistakably triumphs, with the reader rooting hard for the Cardinals—and delighted that O’Brien has brought his considerable skills to telling their story.”
“Keith O’Brien’s absorbing narrative about a high school basketball team in rural Kentucky is so much more than a sports book: It’s a portrait of a small town in the throes of change, and a story of redemption for a group of young men struggling to prove themselves.”
If you have ever wanted a look into the broken but still beating heart of high school sports, into a world where a young man’s future, and a town’s slipping pride, can hang on an in-bounds pass or one more foul — then Keith O’Brien has a book for you. more…
Pulitzer Prize winner and author of All Over But the Shoutin’
The powerful true story of a team, a town, and a fight for redemption
The Cardinals of Scott County High School were beloved once—and with good reason. For years, they gave Kentucky fans what they wanted: basketball glory. But by 2009, the county had lost faith in its boys. To win now, besieged and alone, they’d need to have the season of their lives.
Outside Shot, published in 2013 by St. Martin’s Press, follows the team’s top players and their legendary coach as they struggle to redeem themselves in the face of impossible odds: once-loyal fans now turned against them, parents who demand athletic greatness, and scouts who weigh their every move, turning children into “mini-athlete gods.” It delves deep inside the lives of the boys, their families, and their community—divided along lines of race, politics, religion, and sports. And it chronicles not only the high-stakes world of Kentucky basketball, but the battle for the soul of small-town America.
Outside Shot shows that if it’s hard to win basketball games, it can be even harder to win at life itself.