“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.”
“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 book sneaks up on you, full of unanticipated surprises.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is where Blue Chips meet Blue Grass.
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.
[A] lyrical, fast-paced account of a season to treasure.
A wonderful book that should be required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in high school sports.
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.
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.
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!