Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot

February 10, 2009

I came across Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot looking over a list of someone’s top 25 films of 2008. This film caught my eye because it was directed by Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA from The Beastie Boys) and it focused on a group of the best high school players in the nation in 2006 preparing to play in the inaugural “Elite 24” game at famed Rucker Park in Harlem. It wasn’t a hard sell for me… a documentary directed by a Beastie Boy following the story of the most talented senior class of my lifetime? Uhm, “move to top of queue” please.

While there were plenty of talented players to choose from, Yauch decides to center his film around Michael Beasley (#2 in 2007 draft), Kyle Singler (2007 ACC Rookie Of The Year), Brandon Jennings (#1 ranked senior last year, now playing overseas), Donte Green (#28 pick in 2007 draft), Kevin Love (#5 pick in 2007 draft), Tyreke Evans (top 5 recruit this year, now playing PG for Memphis), Jerryd Bayless (#11 pick in 2007 draft) and Lance Stephenson (top 15 senior this year).

Considering that Beasley, Green, Love, and Bayless were college superstars last year, some of these players already had a ridiculous amount of exposure before this film was released, so I was familiar with all of the players already. Regardless, it’s interesting to see these guys still in high school and on the brink of stardom. You can see why Beasley dominated at Kansas State last year; the guy is a Man-Child at 17 and can be seen scoring at will against his superstar peers in the big game. You also get a glimpse at his personality that may not be apparent in other media coverage. Beasley is the court jester, literally; his mouth is jabbering away the entire time he’s playing (“You ugly as shit, Donte”), he always seems to be planning a prank, and the man just seems annoying as hell. I wouldn’t want him as a roommate, that’s for sure.

Kevin Love is also fun to watch in this film. Not only do you get a great high school highlight reel that includes a game-winning shot at the buzzer and a backboard shattering dunk, but we also get to see a still baby-faced Love and can appreciate how much he has matured as a man and as a player from the time this film was shot to now. It’s quite the transformation.

Basically, I was thoroughly entertained by this documentary, both as a fan of film and a fan of college basketball. I wouldn’t even be mad if Yauch could make this an annual series detailing the year’s best high school players… the only problem is, I’d like to see the film before everyone in the world has seen the guy succeed at the college level already. I think this is a good documentary, in general, but a must see for any fan of college basketball and last year’s draft class.

Score: 6.5 out of 10 (Recommended/Must See)

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