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Players
Written by Joyce Sweeney


Publishers Weekly, 11/1/2000
"Sweeney explores the disastrous effects of competitiveness gone too far in this suspenseful story about a high school basketball team. Corey, from whose point of view the novel is told, plus three other returning starters hope to win for the St. Philips Badgers an All-City Championship. But when transfer student Noah Travers is added to the roster, he throws the team off balance. Although Noah's athletic skills are impressive, he runs a one-man show on court. His hot-dogger antics breed resentment among players, who soon blame Noah for mysterious misfortunes such as starting center Luke's fainting spell before the first game, another key player's sudden decision to quit the team and the discovery of a gun in Luke's locker. As team captain, Corey must play referee off court as he tries to quell the rising tensions and give Noah a fair shot at proving himself."


The Book Report, 11/1/2000
“This excellent, fast-paced novel reveals the darker side of competition and winning within the realm of high school basketball. Corey Brennan and his teammates have been looking forward to their senior year and their chance to win the league basketball title. As a team, they've been together since their freshman year, and everyone, even the press, has chosen them as the team to beat. But something is going terribly wrong, and this once perfectly blended team is slowly falling apart. At the center of the controversy is a newcomer to the team, Noah Travers, who conveniently benefits from all the mishaps and often comes out looking like the hero. . . . The male protagonist displays courage and loyalty, and shows how using your brain, instead of your brawn, can effectively solve problems.”


Kirkus Reviews, 10/1/2000
"Sports are a metaphor for life in Sweeney's outing where naiveté and trust meet up with unbridled ambition. Expectations are high for Corey's basketball team to win the title, but they need one more player in their starting line-up. Noah is new, from Georgia, and suspected of racism by the black players. He's got such a good outside shot that Corey swings the whole team—except best friend Luke—into voting him in....There's just enough play-by-play basketball to satisfy sports enthusiasts, but the emphasis is on Corey's education via the dirty work Noah is willing to dish out to not only play, but also to play first string....Kids who have played on teams will enjoy exploring the complexities of team dynamics, and basketball enthusiasts will simply lap this one up."



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