Teamwork leads way to ‘Glory Road’

Joining the roster of underdog sports films is Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Glory Road,” the story of a coach and members of a small-college basketball team who made history by having an all-African-American starting lineup in a National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball championship game, and their surprising victory over powerhouse Kentucky.

A sneak preview of “Glory Road” will be Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Kukui Grove Cinemas in Lihu‘e, before its nationwide release Jan. 13.

The film is based on a true story that the majority of college- basketball fans already know, but it’s the unfolding of it that executives at Walt Disney Pictures are most likely hoping to bank on.

Its timing may be a few weeks off, being that excitement for March Madness is still a ways ahead.

The film starts out in 1965 with Don Haskins taking a job as the basketball coach for small-college Texas Western. It’s not a million-dollar coaching contract, but it’s Division I, which is what he wants. He and his family must move out of their house and move into the all-men’s college dorm.

Haskins then sets out to recruit players that big-time Division I schools wouldn’t normally look at.

“These are a bunch of kids none of the big schools wanted,” he said. “I see skill, I see quickness. That’s what I’m putting on the court.” Battling doubts from critics and from themselves, the team rises above them, and brings home the championship.

In true “Remember The Titans” fashion, “Glory Road” mixes coming of age, inter-racial tension, academic problems, and the pressures of athletics.

The film stars Josh Lucas, who takes on the role of the history-making Hall of Famer Haskins. Lucas, who rose to fame playing opposite Reese Witherspoon in the romantic comedy “Sweet Home Alabama,” most recently starred opposite Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and Esquire magazine’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” Jessica Biel in “Stealth.” Derek Luke plays college basketball star Bobby Joe Hill. Luke seems to have his work cut out for him, having starred in last year’s hit sports film “Friday Night Lights,” and as the title character in 2002’s “Antwone Fisher.” Also on the team is Mechad Brooks as Harry Flournoy, Jr. Listed as one of Daily Variety’s upcoming “Ten Young Actors to Watch,” Brooks has just joined the cast of ABC’s hit show “Desperate Housewives.” Alphonso McAuley of “Fat Albert,” Austin Nichols of “The Day After Tomorrow,” and Sam Jones III of “Smallville,” also star as players.

Emily Deschanel, who stars in Fox’s “Bones,” plays Haskins’ wife. Jon Voight plays Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp.

Director James Gartner brings the screenplay by Chris Cleveland to the big screen.

This weekend at the Kukui Grove Cinemas is the sneak preview, and will be the only showing of it till it is officially released.

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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