Former NBA All-Star Caron Butler and acclaimed author Justin A. Reynolds tip off the first book in a new middle grade series about a young boy trying to make his mark on an AAU basketball team coached by a former NBA star in his hometown. Perfect for fans of The Crossover and the Track series. A Junior Library Guild Selection!
Tony loves basketball. But the game changed recently when his best friend, Dante, a hoops phenom, was killed by a police officer. Tony hopes he can carry on Dante’s legacy by making the Sabres, the AAU basketball team Dante took to two national championships.
Tony doesn’t make the team, but Coach James likes what he sees from Tony at tryouts and offers him another chance: join the team as the statistician. With his community reeling and the team just finding its footing on the court, can Tony find a path to healing while helping to bring the Sabres a championship?
About the Author
Caron Butler is a former two-time NBA all-star who played for fourteen seasons. He is currently an assistant coach for the Miami Heat and previously was a TV commentator on ESPN, NBC, TNT, and NBA TV. His memoir, Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA, was published by Lyons Press in 2016. Tuff Juice is being produced as a film by Mark Wahlberg. Caron is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist. He created the Butler Elite Basketball Program and the 3D foundation. Caron lives in Miami with his family.
Justin A. Reynolds has always wanted to be a writer. Opposite of Always, his debut YA novel, was an Indies Introduce selection and a School Library Journal Best Book and has been translated into nineteen languages. His second YA novel, Early Departures, was a Kirkus Reviews Best YA Book of the Year. His debut middle grade, a Miles Morales graphic novel titled Shock Waves, was an indie bestseller. Justin is also the cofounder of the CLE Reads Book Festival, a Cleveland book festival for middle grade and young adult writers. He hangs out in northeast Ohio and is probably somewhere right now dancing terribly. You can visit him at www.justinareynolds.com
"An inspirational story that shows that while reality can at times be too sad to bear, it can also—with the support of loved ones—be filled with hope." — Booklist
"The story is notable for its consideration of racism, justice, inequality, and trauma along with exciting basketball action and memorable characters." — The Horn Book
"This bustling narrative is brimming with exciting, detailed basketball scenes and moving life lessons about the things one takes for granted, the importance of community, and the will to succeed despite stacked odds." — Publishers Weekly