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Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball
by Mike DeLucia
Who’s the greatest basketball player ever?
Madness is the intriguing story of Hank Luisetti, the predawn of March Madness, and how modern basketball was born.
- FINALIST, 2019 Topshelf Book Awards
- SOLO MEDALIST WINNER: Autobiography / Biography / Memoir – 2019 New Apple Summer eBook Awards
- BRONZE MEDAL: Young Adult Category – 2019 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
- FINALIST, Sports – 2019 International Book Awards
- FINALIST – 2019 Topshelf Book Awards
“I would say author Mike DeLucia is to the sports novel, what Sylvester Stallone is to the sports film. Mr. DeLucia’s characters are rich and relatable, in a story where sports is an analogy for life.”
“Mike DeLucia keeps the characters engaging, and the action moving. He manages to capture the energy and excitement of a championship face-off, and put it on the page. This is a well-done “sports” novel.”
The majority of searches say Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all time, but many others oppose this. While Jordan’s rank is debatable, a respectable dream team would include Kevin Durant, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dr. J, Tim Duncan, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan, and Hank Luisetti.
Chances are, you’ve never heard of Hank Luisetti. But this wouldn’t be a legitimate discussion without the Hall of Fame legend whose celebrity caused a basketball revolution.
James Naismith invented basketball in 1891; Hank Luisetti reinvented it in 1936. Hank changed basketball’s genetic footprint when he popularized the one-handed shot. He could jump so high and stay up so long he seemed to defy gravity.
Was Luisetti better than Jordan? That’s impossible to say because they played in different eras. But Hank Luisetti was basketball’s first superstar and what he did for the game is unprecedented.
This historical fiction novel is based on the basketball achievements of Hank Luisetti. Some actual events, aspects, and characters have been fictionalized. Get your copy!
5 Star Review: Amazingly this book is as much about the coming of age of the author as it is his character’s journey. It took Author Mike DeLucia twenty-five years to write the story you are about to read. This is an incredible story about Hank Luisetti. You don’t have know one thing about professional basketball to follow the journey of a boy who grew up believing in something bigger than himself.
Chapter One opens in San Franciso, 1926. It is here that we meet ten-year-old Angelo Luisetti or “Hank” a nickname he earns as a teenager. Like most parents who want their children to succeed and have a better life than they did, Hank’s father is no exception. Even at this tender age, Hank’s father buys him a restaurant. One that the whole family can work in and if successful, Hank will carry on the family business.
Hank struggles with the idea of working in the restaurant after school and as he puts it “forever”. He knows his legs are not as strong as other boys his age and probably never will be. Despite this, he dreams of playing basketball. Fate changes everything when coach Ricardo “Ricky” Durán takes notice of him and tells him something that changes his life forever.
Dreams can come true and here is the part of the book (chapter 16) that I want to quote for you:
WHETHER IT IS one specific thing or some combination of talent, chemistry, magic, fate, or commitment, the Stanford Indians, led by a free-wheeling coach and a group of sophomores, hit the league like a wrecking ball, winning their first fifteen consecutive games. Then, one by one, the Indians start going down. During their thirteenth game, Art is hit with a horrendous flu, which sidelines him for two weeks and curtails his usefulness in the weeks that follow. The flu spreads to the Zonne brothers a few days later. When Dinty starts showing symptoms, Bunn secures separate dorms for each of his players, trying to prevent the virus from wiping out his whole team. Dinty’s flu turns out to be a cold, but it is a bad strain and he is out for a week. Like Art Dinty doesn’t regain his health and loses his starting position. Without Art, the Zonne brothers, and Dinty, the Indians are blown out in their sixteenth game by the Golden State Bears. Howie is the next to fall when he receives a season-ending wrist fracture mid-way through the seventeenth game.
They bounce back in their next one, but game nineteen is John Bunn’s worst nightmare. Hank is knocked out cold at the start of a game against UCLA when he and another player smash heads. Hank lay motionless in an ungraceful, facedown position but begins moving by the time John Bunn charges over. He returns to the game but doesn’t look right so Bunn sits him. With the game slipping away, Hank begs to go back in, and Bunn relents. A few minutes after his return, he becomes entangled with two big guys as the trio leap for a rebound. The heel of one of the clunkers lands on Hank’s ankle when they hit the floor, and Hank goes down for the second time. This time, he is out for good and unavailable for the next two games.
Although he returns, he hobbles on that taped ankle right up to the game that decides the Pacific Coast Champions. Hank spends most of the game on the bench, since he reinjured his ankle slightly after the opening tap. The season seems to be over for the Indians by the beginning of the fourth quarter when the Bears are up by fifteen. But Hank convinces Bunn to give him another chance. He goes on a tear and scores thirty points in the fourth quarter, which is just enough to give Stanford the title and its best single-season record with twenty-two wins and seven losses. Dr. Elliot initiates a grand event to honor the team’s achievements and publicize Stanford as the new standard in men’s college basketball.
As a mother and grandmother, I can say with no hesitation that this book should be required reading for young teens. It is story of courage, determination, individual and team spirit along with the sweat and tears that it takes to be your best.
Author Mike DeLucia has three published books. Award Winning Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball, Settling A Score and Boycott The Yankees: A Call to Action by a Lifelong Yankees Fan.
Review by Theodocia McLean (Book Marketing Global Network).
Genre:Basketball Biographies, Basketball
Settling A Score by Mike DeLucia
A heart-warming short story that invites readers to the Bronx during the 1960s and into the home of the DeFrancos, where two estranged brothers are forced to play on the same little league team.
In the process they learn about life, each other, and the enduring challenges of being brothers.
Boycott The Yankees: A Call to Action
by a Lifelong Yankees Fan by Mike DeLucia
There’s no sport more American than baseball, but has the beloved pastime forgotten its fans? Mike DeLucia calls on his team to pay more attention to its followers than its cash flow in Boycott the Yankees, a biting critique of the team he worships.
DeLucia advocates that fans boycott the team until it lowers ticket prices and shows them a little more respect. He rallies against what he considers an obsession with ego and greed.
Like many kids in New York, DeLucia grew up playing baseball with his friends and pretending to be a Yankee. He collected baseball cards as tributes to his favorite players, savoring rather than trading them. He cherishes the history of the game but traces how corporate America came to be the one cashing in on the home runs, charging higher and higher ticket prices to cover the costs of players and their demands.
It’s a labor of love as he calls on fans to stand together and force baseball to return to its roots: a game dedicated to the people in the stands instead of the cash in their wallets.
Genre: Baseball (Books)
About The Author: Mike DeLucia is an author and English teacher who travels the world with his wife, Lillian.
Growing up in the Throgs Neck/Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, Mike spent his childhood in “the neighborhood” opening up fire hydrants in the summer, building wagons (from milk boxes, 2x4s, and abandoned baby carriages), riding bikes, selling Kool-Aid, playing Johnny on the Pony, Red Rover, Skully, Manhunt, and every variation of baseball—including sewer-to-sewer stickball and Wiffle ball, handball, stoopball, Single-Double-Triple, and softball. He worshipped the Bronx Bombers.
The Yankees were as much a part of his life as Sunday mid-afternoon macaroni and meatballs, religion, and summer vacations at Lake George. He would never have believed that his first book would call for a boycott of his beloved team. He didn’t write this manifesto because he stopped loving the Yankees, he wrote it because of how much he does, and tries to reclaim the fan-friendly atmosphere of the old ballpark from the corporate icy chill of the new one.
Mike began his career as an actor and entrepreneur who discovered his love for teaching after founding a local preforming arts center in Mahopac, New York. College, graduate school, and a teaching career followed. He teaches high school English, advised the drama club for a while, and began a travel club so kids could learn about themselves and other cultures by leaving their local neighborhood and placing their feet on the soil of another land. Mike’s love of travel began in 1972 after his family drove from New York to California in a non-air-conditioned Oldsmobile Cutlass. Seeing the vast landscape of this magnificent country left a lasting impression, but the next family trip to Italy in 1982 opened him up to the much larger world. Staring at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of his European homeland initiated a desire to experience the entire world.
His writing began with a poem he’d written as a teenager. Years later, he had it printed on a greeting card and sold it, and other poems he’d written, in card shops, florists, and convenience stores. Even though he wrote his first screenplay, The Hank Luisetti Story, now titled Madness, at the age of 22, he didn’t publish his first book, Boycott The Yankees until the age of 56.
His next work, Settling A Score is a short story that invites readers to the Bronx during the 1960s and into the home of the DeFrancos, where two estranged brothers are forced to play on the same little league team and learn life-changing lessons in the process.
His oldest and newest writing project, Madness, is a historical fiction novel about Hall of Fame forward, Hank Luisetti, whose unorthodox playing style reinvented basketball in the 1930s and paved the way for March Madness and the formation of the NBA.
Mike has two children and one grandchild.
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