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Basketball Boot Camp
With the cast recruited, the next task was turning this ragtag group of athletes and actors into a team resembling the nation's hottest basketball talents. Three weeks before shooting began on GLORY ROAD, the filmmakers shipped the actors off to an intensive basketball boot camp in New Orleans. No matter how experienced or inexperienced the actors—whether they were pro ball players or hadn't picked up a ball in years—they were all treated equally and put through their paces with an endless series of drills and fundamentals designed to create a real sense of teamwork. Panting and grunts filled the gymnasium every day, as a sea of Chuck Taylor Classic Converse High Tops squeaked across the wood floor.

Along with Mike Fisher, the basketball boot camp was run by Tim Floyd, current coach of University of Southern California's Trojans and former NBA coach for the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets. Floyd had worked as an assistant to Don Haskins for nine years so he could share inside knowledge with the cast about how it really was and push them into the kind of top performances Haskins demanded.

Fisher and Floyd agreed early on that this would be no Hollywood-style boot camp. There were no special privileges granted to anyone, and the guys were run ragged each and every day of camp as if basketball were the only thing that mattered. There were also no worries about hurting the actors' feelings with tough talk and pointed critiques. Instead, there was a deliberate effort to make the practices just as brutally hard as Haskins did for the Miners in the '60s.

One particular practice was quite special: the day Don Haskins himself showed up to meet the cast, share his remembrances of the period and, best of all, give the actors a taste of his inimitably uncompromising coaching style.

As practice began, Jerry Bruckheimer, Josh Lucas and the cast of players gathered around Haskins in a circle as the Hall of Fame coach reminisced to each actor about his real life character, giving each unique inspiration. Then, Haskins announced, "Let's play ball.”

He did not hold back, spewing such typical phrases of fierce love at the awed actors as "What are you looking at?” and "You look like you are standing in mud. Pick up your feet and move.” But Haskins also demonstrated another essential truth at the heart of his character—he was, underneath it all, a man who cared deeply about his players. Forty years later, Haskins revealed that he was still able to inspire a group of young men to want nothing more than to make him proud.

Throughout the inspirational practice with Haskins, Josh Lucas stuck like glue to the coach's side, watching his every move and word, and gaining further insight. Lucas comments, "He was just fascinating to watch—the way he used his psychology, his powers of intimidation, his humor. Most of all, I was impressed by how he used his incredible knowledge of basketball every single moment on the court. I realized that no matter how harsh he seemed, he was always teaching.”

Says Jerry Bruckheimer: "With Don Haskins taking the time to meet and coach our cast, and Mike Fisher and Tim Floyd on board helming our basketball department, I think we had the best inspiration possible.”

In addition to regular practices, the cast also had to work out the complex choreography for seven different basketball games. To help prepare, the cast members watched footage of some of the old Miners' games, including the championship game against Kentucky. They perused historical photographs of their characters and they worked closely with Fisher and Floyd, studying choreographed storyboards of each play that would be recreated for the film.

Surprise visits from real-life 1966 Miners Nevil Shed, Jerry Armstrong, David Lattin, Willie Cager and Willie Worsley, added further up-clos

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