Keith O’Brien

Outside Shot Reviews

“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.”

The New York Times Book Review

“O’Brien relates a saga of misplaced priorities and broken dreams in a rural community buffeted by the recession … There is real joy in “Outside Shot.”

The Boston Globe

“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.”


O’Brien’s sharp, intense reporting peers inside the souls of Cardinals nation while illuminating basketball’s value to the community and its participants: the former uses it as a distraction from the gloomy everyday; the latter see it as a pressure-packed escape route. more…

Publisher’s Weekly

O’Brien paints the bluegrassed landscape and its rugged chronology with an artist’s eye for detail … A slam-dunk for readers energized by fast-paced, play-by-play sports stories. more…

Kirkus Reviews

Keith O’Brien writes with a critical eye on larger social issues, but is at his best in depicting with sympathy and understanding the teenage boys who would be our heroes. more…

James S. Hirsch
Author of Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend

Inspiring. more…

Etan Thomas
NBA player, poet, and author of Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge

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…

Rick Bragg
Pulitzer Prize winner and author of All Over But the Shoutin’

In his wonderfully readable book, Keith O’Brien takes us inside the world of Kentucky high school basketball - the joy, devotion, pressure and obsession of a coach and his players at Scott County High.

David Maraniss
Author of When Pride Still Mattered

This is where Blue Chips meet Blue Grass. more…

Dan Shaughnessy
Author of Senior Year

You can’t overstate the difficulty of pulling off a feat of research and writing like this one, but Keith O’Brien makes it look effortless. more…

James Tobin
Author of Ernie Pyle’s War, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography

[A] lyrical, fast-paced account of a season to treasure. more…

Madeleine Blais
Author of In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle

A wonderful book that should be required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in high school sports. more…

Bill Reynolds
Author of Fall River Dreams

OUTSIDE SHOT is for more than just sports fans—this is an inspiring story of determination, a community desperate for heroes, and the boys who would give anything to fill that role. Absolutely riveting.

Seth Mnookin
Author of The Panic Virus, Feeding the Monster, and Hard News

What FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was to high-school football in Texas, OUTSIDE SHOT is to basketball in Kentucky… This is a story about our times. more…

Ken Armstrong
Coauthor, Scoreboard, Baby

OUTSIDE SHOT is a beautiful story about families, community, and the yearnings of young people. Like the Scott County High School Cardinals, this book has a lot of heart – and it’s a winner!

Jeffrey Zaslow
Coauthor, The Last Lecture

Outside Shot

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