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by Rus Bradburd
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Witty and insightful, this isn’t the college basketball we hear about on TV. And Bradburd knows what he’s talking about.

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1-935955-43-8
13-digit ISBN9781935955436
Page Count192
Product Dimensions5.5 x 9
Publication DateDecember 14, 2012
Starred Review1 Stars - see reviews
RightsAll Rights Available
Steve Pytel is an assistant coach and top recruiter for a university basketball program. His goals are simple. He wants to keep his job and be a head coach someday. Keeping his wife barely makes the list. The team staggers; everyone’s days are numbered. Pytel was responsible for landing prized recruits Leonard Redmond and Jamal Davis. Pytel’s duties now? Keep Leonard out of jail. Make sure Jamal ignores the advice of his preacher, sidesteps his girlfriend’s pregnancy, and puts the ball in the basket. Good thing Pytel doesn’t carry around a bagful of scruples.

An inventive novel, Make It, Take It sneaks the reader past the press conferences, locker rooms, and huddles of college basketball. Without judgment or sentimentality, Bradburd lays bare the web of conflicts between players and coaches, blacks and whites, revealing the complex humanity of a team’s inner circle. Here, every choice has a very real cost.

Rus Bradburd is the author of the controversial Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson (Harper-Collins/Amistad) and a memoir, Paddy on the Hardwood: A Journey in Irish Hoops (UNM Press). He spent fourteen years as a college basketball coach, working for legends Don Haskins and Lou Henson. A regular contributor to SLAM Magazine, his essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and Chicago’s Daily Southtown. He is married to poet Connie Voisine and lives in New Mexico and Chicago.

Rus gives a thoughtful interview. Check out his conversation with Or his interview with Louie Saenz at KTEP.

If an NCAA school like UNM is going to give its coach a lifetime of riches, why can’t the players have a lifetime of educational opportunity — say, room, board, tuition, and books for life, even if that means a graduate degree?
Click here to read more from Rus' article for the Albuquerque Journal, "The Difficult Lessons of the Alford Era."

Shelf Awareness for Readers 1 Stars
Ex-coach Rus Bradburd crafts a spare and intriguing story that illuminates the complex machinations required to stay afloat in the unforgiving world of this high-stakes "amateur" sport. Ironic, acerbic and often distressing, Make It, Take It is fiction, but it feels more authentic than any ESPN documentary … With an ear for the music of leather on hardwood, Bradburd is a fan, no question — but Make It, Take It is both a crisply sardonic tale of frustration and a blistering indictment of the sickness inherent in the business of college basketball.
- Cherie Ann Parker, January 15, 2013  Visit Website
Bloomberg News
[A]n appealing novel … it’s engaging and imaginative, and includes one of the most unforgettable characters in (the admittedly lean genre of) basketball literature.
- February 10, 2013  Visit Website
S.L. Price, senior writer, Sports Illustrated, and author of Heart of the Game and Pitching Around Fidel.
Make It, Take It reveals the truth — not just of college basketball, but the inner lives of men — with its wise, sharp, surgical dissection of a backwater program. It's a fearsomely tough book, reminiscent of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio — all these people with oddities galore in a sealed-off world they're sure is perfectly normal. You can watch thousands of hours of ESPN and still be waiting for real insight into the how and why of hoops. Do yourself a favor. Read this instead.
Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Literary Supplement
Make It, Take It is a novel … blissfully light on the dramatic-finish game details that so often derail sports novels. Set against a backdrop of college basketball, it is a compelling story of people and the ways in which they can rise and sink to various levels.
- March 15, 2013 
Sports Illustrated
[A] cool new piece of fiction … fun."
- Seth Davis, January 24, 2013 
Midwest Book Review
A strong pick for literary fiction collections with a focus on the world of sports.
- February 25, 2013 
full review >>
If compelling fiction is about finding ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, then Bradburd has given us just that. The stakes are high from page one, and the change in pace throughout this novel-in-stories makes each extraordinary situation an easy one to digest.
-  Visit Website
Alex Shakar, author of Luminarium, winner of the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction
Coach Pytel's pivots to keep his job, his marriage, and his troubled players afloat are so much fun to watch that you may not even notice Bradburd’s hard-won wisdom until it socks you. For all the hilarity in these pages, Make It, Take It is a soul-wrenching indictment of how the game behind the game is played.
Dave Zirin, contributor to The Nation and author of Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down
Rus Bradburd has given us an original novel about college basketball that is compelling, unsettling, yet downright funny and sad at the same time. Make It, Take It is even better than his incisive non-fiction — and, frankly, that’s just not fair.
- September 1, 2012 
Antonya Nelson, author of Nothing Right and Bound
Rus Bradburd, like other tough visionaries, has selected a universe unique unto itself — college basketball. In it, he reveals quintessential American issues: race, power, corruption, and, sometimes, excellence. Make It, Take It casts light and shadow on both the coaches and the players. It also quietly invites the reader to consider the ways in which basketball reflects a country's virtues as well as its lamentable flaws. This is a very savvy book.
Bob Ryan, basketball commentator for The Boston Globe and ESPN
Rus Bradburd's compelling novel confirms just about all my worst fears concerning a sport that is very near and dear to my heart. College basketball is a messy business. I would be afraid to ask him how much of Make It, Take It is made up.
- January 1, 2013 
Slam Magazine
One of our favorite writers.
College Athletics Clips
Here's a superbly accurate "fiction" novel that details the lengths to which coaches, student-athletes and those around them will go to advance, survive and/or bury themselves.
- Nick Infante, January 20, 2013 
The Boston Globe
The themes here are compelling.
- Bill Littlefield, January 6, 2013 
Sporting News
"An intriguing novel. It’s not a true story, but there’s so much that is real about Make It Take It."
- April 25, 2013  Visit Website
full review >>
San Antonio Express-News
The literary equivalent of a basket at the buzzer — a real nail-biter … Bradburd's vision is…refreshing. [His] confident, savvy debut is more in the vein of North Dallas Forty, a letter from the locker room with no contrived winners or losers. The clear victor here is the reader.
- March 17, 2013  Visit Website
full review >>
Click here to view all the reviews

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