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"She's Got Next"

Unlike a lot of slick and smiling coaches who've tried to turn their success in sports into best sellers, Melissa King has actually written a wonderful book. She's mined her years as a playground basketball player and season as the coach of a team of ten year old girls for real wisdom and bright observation, and the result, "She's Got Next" will delight anybody who enjoys good and thoughtful writing, nevermind basketball.

King is smart enough to get out of the way of her best material. When she writes about the kids she coached, she knows she doesn't have to Hollywoodize them. Her stories of the child who discovered she could be assertive when she found herself holding on to a rebound that both she and a much larger, stronger opponent had grabbed feels unadorned and right, as does the tale of the little girl who intentionally throws the ball out of bounds because she doesn't like her teammates and the resents her coach. King has no stake in presenting herself as a great player or a brilliant mentor, so she's free to give us what she's seen and heard and considered.

When we talked on Wednesday about how "She's Got Next" came into being, Melissa King said she'd been playing a lot of basketball and writing a journal when she discovered that basketball had a lot to tell her. Writing in the journal taught King what she had to say, which is intriguing news for anybody aspiring to write...another reason to read a book that should find an audience far beyond the basketball and sports communities.

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