May Contain Spoilers
Hanamichi is still stinging after his mistake in the game against Kainan. With his new haircut and his new determination to play better ad not make more critical mistakes, Coach Anzai decides to try to up his game. When Hanamichi’s weakness – shooting – comes to light, Akagi puts together a training program to overcome Hanamichi’s Achille’s heel.
Wow, has Hanamichi matured. A bit. When everyone notices the elephant in the room – Hanamichi can’t shoot baskets for crap – Akagi takes his training firmly in hand. Because Hanamichi wasted a few days pouting over his part in the loss to Kainan, they only have a couple of days to get his basket shooting skills up to par. With his punishing schedule, Hanamichi thrives while learning his new skills. Since he hadn’t previously been allowed to shoot, he relishes the new practice and makes the most of it.
When he gets up early on game day to get his practice shots in, and then falls asleep, missing most of the game, he gets benched. So much for that new found maturity. Hanamichi is his own worst enemy. He was so lucky that the rest of the team handled the Takezato team with no problems. Wow. If they didn’t need him so badly in the next game, I’d have made him sit out most of that game, too! Ugh! Akagi was amazingly forgiving, and I was shocked by that. Maybe Akagi is finally understanding that trying to rein Hanamichi in is like trying to change the current of the Amazon.
The Shohoku team stays to watch the Ryonan – Kainan game, and everyone is surprised by the powerful trio Ryonan puts on the court. Kainan is struggling and falls behind. Hanamichi, after watching Fukuda, the newer player on the Ryonan team and the guy he’s probably going to have to defend against, leaves to get some work in. Who is this new Hanamichi? He’s going to put in extra practice before the big game tomorrow? Maybe his new haircut relieved some of the pressure on his brain, and now he can strategize and do what’s best for the team – instead of what’s best for him.
I can hardly wait to see who wins the Ryonan – Kainan game, and I’m even more excited to see how Shohoku’s next game fares. Will the team be able to pull off the required win, or will their season end prematurely?
Grade: 4 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
Thanks to an impressive showing during a scrimmage between Shohoku’s rookie and veteran players, Coach Anzai decides to give Sakuragi a crack at playing center. And though the game reveals several of Sakuragi’s weaknesses, it also highlights just how far his technique has come in a very short amount of time. With but three days until the game against rival school Takezato, Sakuragi is placed on a new and grueling training regimen: he must make 500 shots each and every day!