Wheat Fields (Paperback)
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Kansas University recruits dozens of basketball players each year. But none had to move to Lawrence from the wheat fields of Central Kansas for his senior year of high school. And, once a Jayhawk freshman, none was ever swept off his feet by a young woman wearing a bright yellow head scarf. Wheat Fields follows Richie Armstrong as he moves from Salina and adjusts to Free State High School. Soon after arriving, he meets and impresses Sean Grogan, the Lawrence Journal World''s sports editor. Richie's play and Grogan's columns attract the attention of Gene Bennett, the Jayhawk head coach, whose in-home visit with Richie and his mother displays the dynamics of blue-blood recruiting-the planning and the impact of the pitch as well as the anxiety that shadows even a hall-of-fame coach. Grogan chronicles Richie's freshman year at Kansas. But there is more going on at KU than basketball. The academic community is rocked by accusations of racism leveled against Jacob Matthews, a rock-star philosophy professor. Over the holidays, Richie meets Farieh Bukhari, a brilliant freshman student from Tehran whose smile and head scarf will command the moments he does not give to basketball. And it is Farieh's riveting testimony that highlights Jacob Mathews' defense in his academic trial. An informed, often-humorous introduction to major-college basketball, Wheat Fields introduces college life, as well: the campus, the traditions, the students, and the many facets of the faculty-their generosity, their jealousies, and their sustaining regard for their students.