The subtitle of Uncaged is “The Rise of Greg Oden, Mike Conley and the National Champion Lawrence North Wildcats”. That pretty much sums up what the book is about, going into great detail chronicling Oden and Conley’s high school career in Indiana. The book also does a good job of introducing the Wildcats legendary coach, Jack Keefer, to the wider basketball world.
The book offers a brief glimpse into the lives of Oden, Conley and their coach, such as Oden’s mother buying him fish sticks if he scored in a game as a youngster (could a Captain Highliner endorsement deal be in his future?!). Or how embarrassed Oden would get in the early days when autograph seekers would wait for him after games. Uncaged also is refreshing because its chief subjects – Oden and Conley – come off as truly humble, down-to-earth people.
However, considering one of the authors of the book was an assistant coach on the team and the writers had behind the scenes access, the book doesn’t contain enough off court info. You do get some background info on Oden and Conley but you don’t really feel like you get to know them or what makes them tick. It tends to read like a newspaper recount of a game – you get a recap of pretty much all of the games the Wildcats play and it gets a bit redundant. More quotes from Oden and Conley would have been welcomed to get their thoughts and feelings on the circus that surely was going on around them. Also more in depth profiles on some of the dynamic duos teammates would have been nice.
Uncaged is sure to be of interest in the future when Oden (and probably Conley) are dominating the NBA. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the book and is a fairly interesting read, it didn’t suck in this reviewer like other recent high school hoops books did (The Jump, The Miracle of St. Anthony).
- 2.5 out of 5 stars -
Dave Krider, J.R. Shelt and Scott Freeman
Sports Publishing L.L.C.
$22.95 ($28.95 Canada)