The popular Netflix original series “Last Chance U” has shifted from football to basketball in its latest season. The show originally showed a full season of football at various Junior Colleges, while also focusing on some of each respective team’s best players. The athletes mostly consisted of Division-One bouncebacks, or students who had to leave their previous schools due to academic issues or disciplinary reasons. As the title states, the schools that the show tackles represent the athlete’s last chance at fulfilling their dreams, going to a Division-One school, and hopefully getting drafted.
This season, released on Mar. 10, follows the basketball coaches and players at East Los Angeles College. Due to the fact that basketball rosters are extremely smaller than football rosters, we were able to see and connect with more players. This is one of the things that “Last Chance U: Basketball” does better than its football counterpart. We are able to see the entire team every episode, as well as observe them interact with each other and their coaches more. In the football series, we were only able to see the best players most of the time. And, while we still only focus on about five or six players during this season, we do get to meet the athletes who inhabit smaller roles on the team.
Further, we are able to spend more time with the coaches. The head coach of the East Los Angeles College basketball team, John Mosley, is essentially our narrator for the series. We are able to see his home life, as well as his relationship with assistant coaches Kenneth Hunter and Robert Robinson. During the seasons that focused on football, almost every coach had no sort of life outside football; the sport consumed all of their time. We are able to see Coach Mosley’s close-knit relationship with the players as well, giving the viewer insight into the team culture. Lastly, as the season was cut short due to COVID-19, the series captured the emotions of the athletes and coaches very effectively. We were able to feel their pain as they were told they couldn’t compete for a state championship, which is the one thing they were working toward. This also left the viewer with uneasiness, as the state tournament was the place where most Division-One coaches would go watch to recruit. Yet, the ELAC players were not able to have that opportunity. Nevertheless, the main players we follow throughout the series were still able to get recruited and conquer their dreams of becoming Division-One basketball players.
Where are they now?
A D-1 bounceback from Pennsylvania State, Hampton struggled with his attitude throughout the season. Easily one of the best players on the team, he was held back by his tendency to lash out and walk out of practices or games. However, Hampton landed at Division-One school Long Beach University where he averaged 10.3 points per game in the 2020-2021 season.
Highler was the captain of the ELAC team during the season. He was originally a walk-on at The University of Texas at El Paso, where he was told they couldn’t offer him a scholarship. He had one of the best stories of the show; his father died when he was young, and his mother passed away a few years before the show takes place. We see him living with his girlfriend, Kiera, as they figure out how to start a life for themselves. Highler is now a Division-One scholarship player at Sacramento State University where he averaged 5.0 points per game in 8 games during the 2020-2021 season.
Muhammad is known as the friendly giant of the season. Standing at 6’9”, Muhammad had some issues with pushing himself to his greatest potential. Nevertheless, he is now playing at Division-One school Central Michigan University where he averages 5.5 points per game.
Allen is the player on ELAC who has the best chance at reaching the NBA. While it can be argued that Hampton is more skilled, Allen’s work ethic, basketball IQ, and attitude soars above Hampton. Out of high school, Allen was a 4-star recruit. However, academic issues in high school forced him to take the Junior College route at ELAC. Allen is now committed to the University of South California. Due to COVID-19, he decided to sit this season out, but he is sure to make waves whenever he gets to campus.
“Last Chance U: Basketball” is available to stream on Netflix.
By Audrey Shaev