The East LA College Huskies in Last Chance U: Basketball. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

It’s More Than Just A Game: Three Takeaways from Netflix Series “Last Chance U: Basketball”.

The Netflix series “Last Chance U” primarily focused on JUCO football athletes balancing sports and academics while aiming for recruitment to a division 1 school. The series has branched off into basketball documenting the journey of the East L.A. men’s team; the Huskies. Reputation stats seem to be at stake for the 2019-2020 season for the Huskies redeeming their playoff standings, keeping their winning streak, and giving Coach Mosely the title of a championship-winning coach. It also magnifies the school for recruiters to keep an eye on the players graduating soon.
Though Last Chance U documents players, there are other aspects to watch in the season that makes the series even more enjoyable for anyone to watch.

1. Family over everything

The narrative in most sports-related content is usually a coach shouting at players only showing interactions on the court. Coach Mosley takes his passion off the court every day always showing love for not only the game but his players. Coach Mosley has shown love for his team with simple yet effective actions like asking about their mental health, staying for extra practice time, and praying for his team on the spot. He even took the Huskies on a cabin trip when he began to notice tensions rising among players. Though he yells and shows frustration to his team aggressively, it’s out of love. Coach Mosley’s strong religious background allows him to understand this is his ministry in life. His mission is to help these athletes get to the level by amplifying the gifts God gave his players while being a mentor.

He has a lot of unusual “punishment” tactics but he understands the dynamic of his players very well to know this is effective. For example, as coach Rob Robinson stated, “there are players who said they’re a beast but KJ is really an F#&king beast”, glorifying one of their top players KJ Allen. Allen’s posterizing dunks always builds the momentum of the team afterward. He constantly has immaculate stats almost every game. This led KJ to have over 10+ schools interested in him but academically, he is not as strong. The coach never gave up on him and strives to help him better his grades to obtain his degree; not just focus on sports. He knows players like Joe Hampton mean well but has a bad temperament in situations and understands it’s not about basketball but about his mental game with recruiting(as mentioned in episode 7).

The team is a family. They look after each other, live with each other, go on trips with each other building a relationship with a group of competition winners. He even ends his huddles with a countdown ending in the family.

The East LA College Huskies in Last Chance U: Basketball. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

 

 

2.Wives/ girlfriends make the ultimate sacrifice
Family life doesn’t seem to be an aspect that would affect the game, but it plays a role. In the documentary, wives have the opportunity to tell how their husband’s profession has impacted their household. Coach Mosley has been married to La Shaunda Pierce Mosely for years and has 3 children. At the beginning of the relationship, LaShaunda said she use to travel with her husband (before the kids) to spend more time with him.”Thank Goodness I love basketball too…” Mrs. Mosley jokingly said in an interview. For Mosely, he was the head coach of a division 1 team requiring most of his time for games and recruitment. Coach loved and wanted to be with his family more so he took the route of junior college coaching. The new position had a salary cut but following his passions of coaching and family made it worth it. Coach Rob Robinson’s wife didn’t hesitate to say yes when the opportunity came for her husband to be apart of the ELAC coaching roster. Robinson’s career started as a head coach at Notre Dame High School for 20 years. He won 7 league championships and was a state finalist. He was even named the Cal-Hi State Coach of the Year. At one point, the school began to layoff prominent staff like the principal then the president.
He saw the domino effect and knew he was next. A friend mentioned a position to him at East L.A. college where he met Coach Mosley. He wanted to give this some thought but his wife was for sure supportive of this move. In fact, she said, “no! you’re doing this”. She wanted the dream to thrive without worrying about other factors like his children’s college tuition and money.

Deshaun’s girlfriend, Kiera Lusk has also made sacrifices helping her boyfriend mature at such a young age. Deshaun’s mother passed away from cancer. Kiera seemed to have come into Deshaun’s life right on time. She said they met on Instagram with a few conversational DMs that led to her being a support system for him when she saw the news. She helped him mature and “adult” very quickly after such a tough loss. Kiera mentioned he wasn’t aware of a lot of adult things (grocery shopping, bills, etc.)and helped with the transition from a young boy to a man but still being that emotional support as he grieved. Deshaun and Kiera are still together slowly gaining a fanbase who are rooting for their success in love.

Deshaun and Kiera
Coach Mosely and wife

3.The hidden gem name coach Ken.

Up to the second to last episode, there was a man always sitting with the coaches that weren’t mentioned. His name is coach Ken. In episode 7, the series finally gives the audience a backstory on coach Ken. Coach Ken is in a wheelchair paralyzed from the waist down from an accident that occurred while wrestling his roommate in college. Before then, he was a basketball player himself at L.A. Trade Tech. He got into the recruitment business after his former Coach expressed an opportunity to coach with him.
At the time, he moved backed to Detroit after his injury living with a family who are in BMF(Black Mafia Family); one of the most notorious crime organizations in Detroit. He was hesitant since he was paralyzed and in the process of recovery but the coach didn’t seem to let the idea go. Ken took the opportunity, moved him and his wife to California, and spent 13 years at trade tech coaching. Once word spread that Coach Ken was leaving that coaching position, Mosley knew he needed Ken on his roster. Though he may not be able to physically be on the court, he is the voice of reasoning that gets through the players often because “he is the realist dude you’ll ever meet” as stated by coach Rob. He has a demeanor that makes players listen and regain focus back on the bigger goal. Situations arise with players like Joe Hampton becoming angry during practice, wanting to walk out, but Coach Ken stepped in to let Joe know he is bigger than this and he’s almost at the finish line with graduating getting Joe to come out of the locker room back onto the court. That’s just one example of the energy balance coach Ken brings to his players and team.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 with the shutdown, the Huskies were not able to finish their record-winning game with the championship. The season was canceled one day before the tournament game. The game, graduation, and many other events were canceled because of coronavirus but the success for players didn’t stop. Most players signed to a D1 or D2 school with scholarships. Fan-favorite players like KJ Allen committed to the University of South Carolina or Malik Muhammad who will play for Michigan state or Deshaun Highler who has moved to Sacramento California with his girlfriend to play for Sacramento State.

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