With roots on the U.S./Mexico border, Cinco Puntos publishes great books which make a difference in the way you see the world.
childrens books
young adult books
poetry books
fiction books
non-fiction books
graphic novels
first concepts
featured titles

about us
customer service

Teacher's Resources
View & Print our Bilingual Catalog
View & Print our YA Catalog

<< Back to Make It, Take It

Make It, Take It

Sporting News

There’s one problem with Rus Bradburd’s novel Make It Take It, which details the story of a fictional college basketball team through the eyes of its coaches and players: He wrote it too soon. If he’d waited another year, there could have been a character included who throws basketballs at his players during practice.
“I think it’s a complicated world,” Bradburd told Sporting News. “I don’t think the NCAA is evil, all coaches are evil, boosters are evil or the kids are thugs. I think it’s a complicated world.”
Bradburd should know. He spent 14 seasons as a college basketball assistant coach, primarily at UTEP and New Mexico State, before deciding he wished to pursue a career as a writer. As it happened, his first book was a memoir about his own experiences as a basketball coach in Ireland’s not-so-pro professional league. His second was a biography of Hall of Fame basketball coach Nolan Richardson. And now this. So he’s writing, but it’s still about basketball coaches.
“Make It Take It” is his first novel, one of the few that have been set in the world of big-time college basketball.
It is an unusual book in that it is told from a variety of different perspectives: the acerbic, on-his-way-to-alcoholic head coach; the naïve, religious recruiting steal; the recruiting specialist assistant and the careerist assistant coach who essentially is the main character, Steve Pytel.
Their team is not a successful team. It’s pretty much a mess. It’s not designed to be an inspirational novel in which the team triumphs over adversity. It’s much more about the adversity, with some eye-opening anecdotes culled from actual events—one of which was the handiwork of a coaching legend.
The most jarring story of all is the interchange between an assistant coach and the star recruit’s girlfriend, who coerces the coach into—nah, it’s better not to spoil the surprise.
“History is written by the winners. I think literature is written by the losers,” Bradburd said. “I think there’s an advantage to fiction. Even though there’s not that much literal truth—parts of it happened—you’re able to get at a truth that’s more honest with fiction. What the book does, I hope, is show people what a complex place college basketball is. Oftentimes there are no good choices.
“People want to feel like they’re on the inside. But you can shine the camera on Penn State football all you want—it turns out we don’t know what’s going on in Penn State football.”
Bradburd’s years of experience as a college coach left him with the feeling that “it’s an awful system” that allows many coaches to earn north of $2 million while the athletes’ compensation is meager by comparison. He calls it “amateur sports for the players, and a Fortune 500 company for the coaches.”
And yet Bradburd remains drawn to the game. Now teaching writing in the Masters of Fine Arts program at New Mexico State, he was asked a few years back to do some color commentating on Aggies games. He nearly scoffed because he’d gotten out of coaching to get away from being too close to the game, but wound up agreeing to do it and staying several years.
“When you get human beings involved, it’s going to be flawed, and it’s going to be problematic. I can’t imagine it’s different from the used-car business or the Chicago police dept,” Bradburd said. “I like Nolan Richardson better now that I know he can go off on a rant, and can be irrational at times. It’s why I hated the movie “Glory Road.” It turned Don Haskins into a saint. He wasn’t. He was trying to win basketball games.
“I think the complexity of the college game—how difficult it is for everybody involved to do the right thing when there’s so much at stake—it’s incredible pressure. It’s not like being a Chicago cop or a soldier in Iraq, but it’s a complicated world. I think coming to grips with how complicated college basketball can be is sort of the first step to improving things—admitting it’s not a perfect system and that everybody is confronted with choices that are difficult.
“There’s a lot of broken hearts on the way, a lot of ruined careers, a lot of ulcers and divorces.”
It all makes for 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

books for kids | young adults | poetry | non-fiction | fiction | on sale | featured titles
submissions | about us | customer service | contact us | bilingual books
search | privacy statement | ©2001 - 2018 Cinco Puntos Press
Designed by
Stanton Street 

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution.