George Dohrmann's "Play Their Hearts Out" is out in bookstores today, and his examination of the relationship between former hoops phenom Demetrius Walker and AAU coach Joe Keller in the context of a seedy grassroots basketball scene is already commanding attention.
Keller has threatened Dohrmann with a lawsuit after reading the Sports Illustrated excerpt. And Tim Floyd, then the coach at USC, probably won't appreciate the unflattering portrayal of his reaction to Walker opening up the recruiting process after previously committing to the Trojans.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Dwyre in recommending the book for uncovering "a complicated world of disgusting sleaze" that will "make you sick."
One reason why?
The excerpt describes a scene in which Keller allows Walker to nix the coach's trip home to witness the birth of his daughter during a 12-and-under AAU Nationals tournament.
Walker, now a redshirting transfer at New Mexico, told the Albuquerque Journal (subscription required) that in hindsight, he regrets doing such a thing.
"When his daughter was being born, and at the time, he felt like I was his son, he asked me, 'What do I want?' I said, 'Be there for the championship game (of an AAU tournament).'
"At that time, me being a child, I didn't know about the importance of the birth of a child, so I'm going to say 'I want my head coach there.'
"Right this minute, if I could take it back -- knowing what I know as a 20-year-old man -- I would have had him go home and be there for the birth of his daughter."
"Play Their Hearts Out" is about children and their hoops dreams, but no, it will not warm your heart.