You pretty much know what you’re getting when you walk into a sports movie that bills itself as “an inspirational account … inspired by a true story.” And you pretty much get that: The story of Ken Carter, the basketball coach at Richmond High School in a tough section of the San Francisco Bay Area, features rousing, crowd-pleasing moments and breathless buzzer-beating action. It’s also full of the obligatory speeches about turning athletes into students and turning boys into men. The difference here is that the person making those speeches is Samuel L. Jackson. Melodrama is not in his repertoire.

The result, like the recent “Friday Night Lights” and “Miracle,” is a movie that manages to transcend its predictable, by-the-numbers structure, although its tough-love themes inevitably will remind you of “Stand and Deliver” and “Dangerous Minds.” Rated: PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language, teen partying and some drug material. Rating: 2 1/2 out of 4 stars.

– Christy Lemire, AP movie critic


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