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Overview

In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for inner-city black kids like Derrick Bowen. He's a 6'3" freshman, lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He wants to start at point guard for Marion High, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down. Besides, the coach is old school. He thinks D-Bow needs to work on his game, his shot, and his attitude. That means bench time. And that's when Hamilton Academy, the elite school in the suburbs, comes sniffing around. They want D-Bow for the next ...

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Overview

In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for inner-city black kids like Derrick Bowen. He's a 6'3" freshman, lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He wants to start at point guard for Marion High, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down. Besides, the coach is old school. He thinks D-Bow needs to work on his game, his shot, and his attitude. That means bench time. And that's when Hamilton Academy, the elite school in the suburbs, comes sniffing around. They want D-Bow for the next three years. His mom wants no part of that. But his father needs a job, and Uncle Kid, who is a bitter ex-star at Marion High, has his own plans. Yeah, there's a pretty girl and a best friend in the mix. Plus plenty of basketball action and suspense just like high school boys like to read.

Kevin Waltman, a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, was a high school player and remains a huge basketball fan. Next is his third YA novel. His first two, both from Scholastic, are Nowhere Fast (2002) and Learning the Game (2005). Kevin is an instructor at the University of Alabama where he lives with his wife Jessica, their daughter Calla, and their dog Henry.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
01/01/2014
Gr 7 Up—Derrick Bowen is ready to be the star of his high school basketball team. He was a hero in middle school, but senior Nick Starks isn't about to concede his starting point-guard position. Even when Derrick outperforms him, the coach continues to start Nick, and uses Derrick to sub for other starters. Derrick's uncle, a former Marion East player who still blames Coach Bolden for getting in the way of his own basketball dreams, tries to convince his nephew to transfer to Hamilton Academy, an elite school in the Indianapolis suburbs that is actively recruiting the 6-foot, 3-inch inner-city freshman. Derrick is tempted, especially since Hamilton is including a job offer for his dad. But as he gets to know Coach Bolden better, Derrick realizes that the old coach is pushing him out of his comfort zone to make him a better player. After a sloppy start to their season, the Marion East guys finally accept what Bolden has been trying to teach them: that as long as they're looking for individual glory, they're never going to play their best. The group slowly meshes into a team, and Derrick comes to appreciate the deeper camaraderie with his teammates over the flash that Hamilton offers. Readers will appreciate the fully fleshed-out characters and authentic dialogue. The blend of sports action and relationships holds tremendous appeal for basketball fans and reluctant readers, although those who are not familiar with the game may have trouble understanding the jargon. A solid choice for fans of Paul Volponi and Walter Dean Myers.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Publishers Weekly
12/02/2013
For 15-year-old Derrick "D-Bow" Bowen, basketball is life. A freshman at an Indianapolis high school, he dreams of being a starting point guard and eventually playing in the NBA. Everyone has an opinion about how Derrick should reach those goals. The team's no-nonsense coach is determined to keep Derrick "pinned to the pine," training him all hours to help the team make it to State. Derrick's parents disagree about whether he should transfer to an academy in the suburbs, and Derrick's scheming Uncle Kid is attempting to compensate for his own failed basketball career through Derrick. Then there are Derrick's sophisticated crush, Jasmine, and his grounded best friend Wes who want him to widen his horizons beyond the court. First in a planned four-book series covering Derrick's four years of high school, Waltman's (Learning the Game) novel is packed with basketball jargon and action, but also impressively multifaceted, as it examines neighborhood rivalries, the tremendous pressures that come with making one's first adult decisions, and the values of both teamwork and individuality. Ages 14–up. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
“Waltman’s series opener (first of a planned four) features plenty of basketball action fueled by hoops slang that will set basketball-mad readers right onto the court … The author avoids slam-dunk answers, leaving readers poised for the next book. Like Derrick, this series is off to a promising high school career.”—Kirkus Reviews

“packed with … action, but also impressively multifaceted, as it examines neighborhood rivalries, the tremendous pressures that come with making one's first adult decisions, and the values of both teamwork and individuality.” —Publishers Weekly

STARRED REVIEW "The book bypasses the customary convolutions in this sharply honed drama, making D-Bow’s story even more realistic and engaging for its sheer credibility. There are no good guys or bad guys here, no crimes or even bad decisions, just the strenuous effort of personal discipline and team-building that any athlete D-Bow’s age might encounter. Waltman’s acute ear for dialogue and effortless mastery at describing extended plays add the flash and velocity to keep readers fully invested in the outcome of the raggedy season."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Young basketball enthusiasts will love it … These choices [Derrick faces] are not sensational, but they are real and important."—Alabama Writers' Fourm

"In 'Next,' Waltman's third novel, he has created a more accurate picture of Hoosier basketball and done so with considerable elegance and authority, and without stereotypes."—Tuscaloosa News

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
A kid who's got the moves needs the smarts to go with them. Derrick may be just 15 and only entering high school, but Division I and even NBA dreams are not unrealistic--but first he has to make the starting squad at Marion East, the mostly black high school in his inner-city Indianapolis neighborhood. This means impressing the coach that his uncle blames for scotching his own NBA dreams years earlier. Readers won't be as surprised as Derrick is when he is not automatically named to the starting five or when the coach insists that he stop relying on his dunk and practice shooting from a distance--and start learning how to be part of a team. Resentful, Derrick considers transferring to snooty Hamilton Academy, where he's being energetically recruited and where his underemployed father has been promised a full-time custodian job. Waltman's series opener (first of a planned four) features plenty of basketball action fueled by hoops slang that will set basketball-mad readers right onto the court. Derrick's easy, colloquial narration occasionally leaves the court for scenes at home, where his parents struggle to make ends meet, and in school, where he cluelessly woos the beautiful Jasmine. Waltman's lovingly sketched Indianapolis lends the tale further authenticity. The author avoids slam-dunk answers, leaving readers poised for the next book. Like Derrick, this series is off to a promising high school career. (Fiction. 12-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935955665
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/2013
  • Series: D-Bow High School Hoops
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 288,535
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
  • File size: 823 KB

Meet the Author

Kevin Waltman: Kevin Waltman is an instructor at The University of Alabama. He lives in Coker with his wife Jessica, their daughter Calla, and their dog Henry. His first young adult novel, Nowhere Fast, was published by Scholastic in 2002, and his second, Learning the Game, was published by Scholastic in 2005.
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