Laue set out to become the Jim Abbott of Division One NCAA basketball. It will be a tall order. Unable to “go to his left” Laue is constantly
disregarded by college scouts in Franklin Martin’s Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story (trailer here), a sports
documentary for viewers who do not ordinarily follow sports, opening this
Friday in New York.
former coach at Tennessee State and a letterman at Hofstra, Martin had the
misfortune of guest coaching a team matched-up against Laue. He was not ready for what followed, but at
least he found the subject of his next film.
With a left arm shortened due to complications at birth, Laue was an
unlikely high school starter. Yet, his
talent and athleticism compensated on the court.
the story of Laue’s tenacity hits the national press. He and his family even have a private meeting
with President George W. Bush, who characteristically puts everyone at
ease. Unfortunately, most college scouts
and coaches are evidently not in the “feel good” business. Nor will Laue’s season pan out the way he
hoped, taking his road to a Division I school on a dramatic detour.
the typical Olympic athlete, Laue is also no stranger to personal tragedy. His father succumbed to cancer while Laue was
in grade school, leaving a void that looms large throughout the film. However, the commitment of Laue’s coaches on
the prep level and before really stands out in the film. At a time when many coaching staffs are making
headlines for the wrong reasons, Laue’s experiences will come as a refreshing
change of pace.
good reason, Martin focuses almost exclusively on Laue the basketball player
and still grieving son. That is
obviously where the dramatic meat and potatoes of the story are, but it leaves
the impression of a rather single-minded (almost one-dimensional) young
man. One would hope for his sake he also
has outside interests.
Without giving away spoilery details, it is
important to note Long Shot has a New
York connection. Hardly shy when it
comes to pulling the heart strings, it is a good sports doc precisely because
the shots do not always fall Laue’s way.
That is the nature of sport. Martin
captures it rather well, thanks to his up-close-and-personal access to Laue and
his family. Recommended more for
audiences of inspirational fare rather than hardcore college hoops fanatics, Long Shot opens this Friday (10/26) in
New York at the Quad Cinema.
Labels: Documentary, Kevin Laue, Sports films