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In The Last Amateurs, he mines the 1999-2000 season of Patriot League basketball. Given the high-stakes, high-profile, and often dirty world of college hoops these days, Feinstein comes up with a remarkably refreshing place to visit, a sporting environment short on scandals, prima donnas, and sneaker contracts, but long on a pure passion for the game that complements achievement in the classroom. In the league's seven schools--Bucknell, Lehigh, Lafayette, Colgate, Holy Cross, Army, and Navy--academics come first, the hardwood second. These are campuses populated by students who happen to be athletes, not athletes stopping off on the way to lucrative careers in professional sports. Indeed, these are young athletes who have their post-college focus on the rest of their lives, not the NBA. Sports, for them, builds character, not bank accounts.
Still, the Patriot League is a Division I conference, with its champion earning an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. It takes the games seriously--often, as Feinstein reveals, heartbreakingly so--even if it doesn't necessarily play to ACC, SEC, Big 10, and Pac-10 standards. Feinstein's interviewing, skillful as ever, brings the players, coaches, and administrators of the colleges in this league to full form, making The Last Amateurs a rarity among sports books--a smart volume about smart people with their heads and priorities pointed in the right direction. Like the conference itself, it's in a league of its own. --Jeff Silverman
As such, this is a fantastic book for fans of college basketball, as it really captures what is best about that game.
The Patriot League is all about colleges who expect their athletes to attend class and graduate, and these are good SCHOOLS just below Ivy League status.
I didn't even finish the book because it just took too long to get to the end and it didn't seem like the end would ever come.
John Feinstein applies his nicely readable style to the Patriot League (Navy, Lafayette, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, Army, Bucknell) circa 2000. Read morePublished 10 days ago by K.A.Goldberg
Purchased this for my son. He said it was a great book.Published 2 months ago by Patricia A. Petryk
I love college basketball, actually, I love basketball period. And I feel strongly that big time college football and basketball have long been hijacked by professional aspirations... Read morePublished 11 months ago by J Chadderdon
I am a big fan of Division I College Basketball and really all college basketball. John Feinstein is my favorite sports writer, and he did not disappoint.Published 12 months ago by Judy H. King
Feinstein writes well for the reader because he comes from a journalist perspective. There are a lot of direct quotes, and the writing flows well. Read morePublished on February 22, 2011 by B. Adducchio
Year in and year out, college basketball is dominated by schools in conferences such as the ACC or Big East, but John Feinstein became intrigued by the Patriot League, a conference... Read morePublished on May 25, 2010 by Eric Mayforth
This book really describes what sports competition, especially basketball is all about. These players play for the love of the game and to be involved in pure competition, not just... Read morePublished on March 15, 2010 by Sherman Coleman
The Last Amateurs is not A Season on the Brink. In fact, I don't think it as well written or organized. Read morePublished on October 23, 2009 by Kevin Sivils
I really enjoyed "The Last Amateurs." I've been a sports fan since grade school and as I write this, I'm closer to 50 than I'd care to be, so it's been a while. Read morePublished on March 2, 2008 by Bruce Baskin