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Documentary covers gifted basketball players
By Joe McAdoo
Springfield Business Journal Contributor
December 10, 2007

Not much of what Hollywood turns out today interests me.

However, a documentary described in Sports Illustrated’s Nov. 26 issue might be worth seeing.

“Quantum Hoops” is about the 2006 basketball season at California Institute of Technology, a school more noted for its scientifically gifted graduates than basketball domination.

An unusual streak

What unusual thing did Caltech do on the basketball court to attract Hollywood? We’ll call it The Streak. The Caltech basketball team lost 243 consecutive games in its league between 1985 and 2007 – truly a record no team will try to break.

Sports Illustrated points out that the university during that time turned out nine Nobel Prize winners. From the standpoint of school mission statements and the like, the

Nobel winners are likely to be more amenable to the institutional bottom line than basketball victories.

A winning formula?

The subject of the documentary is the 2006 basketball season chronicling the frustrations of last season as a team of future scientists tried to come up with a formula allowing them just once to skip the agony of defeat and bask in the thrill of victory.

Apparently, the documentary doesn’t poke fun at the players, who, by the way, are not attending school on athletic scholarships; because Caltech is a National Collegiate Athletics Association Division III school, it can’t offer athletic scholarships. The 2006 team featured in the movie had eight valedictorians and only six players had high school basketball experience.

Actor David Duchovny narrates the movie.
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