Richmond High School's long time boys' basketball coach is retiring and Carter has been asked to takeover. Ken Carter, a successful sporting goods store owner, accepts the job of basketball coach for his old high school in a poor area of Richmond, CA, where he was a champion athlete. Richmond has being the worst school in the district and losing its prior academic standing. Now, the most important desire of the school principal and the school community is to have a winning basketball team.
Coach Carter of course would love to helm a winning team, but his wishes are a bit more significant than fetching a worthy trophy or two. Carter demands respect from his players and encourages them to show that same respect to each other, beginning from Day 1 in practice. His coaching agenda consists of a series of policies requiring proper behavior and academic accomplishment. The players will sign a contract agreeing to keep a minimum 2.3 grade point average, go to every class, and sit in the front row and the game-day coat-and-tie dress code. He will have access to progress reports on all of his players from their teachers to make sure they are honoring the contract. All who wish to follow can sign the contract, and those who don’t know where the door leads them. This announcement doesn't go over too well at the first practice, and Carter loses a few players right off the bat, including last year's high scorer Timo Cruz. Damien Carter transfers to Richmond, and after the initial debate between he and his father, his only purpose is to be caught later with the team at party after winning a tournament.
Those who stay soon find that Carter is indeed not joking; Carter puts the team through a militant style workout that favors discipline and ensures long-term survival against tough opponents. The team starts winning a holiday tournament and is looking at an impressive undefeated season with Carter’s intense coaching.
Carter discovers that members of his team have been skipping class and failing to honor the GPA requirement of their contract. In response, Carter locks up the gym, cancels games, and sends his team to the library instead of practice, where teachers are awaiting to set the boys' academic lives straight. Carter tells them startling statistics of graduation rates, college admission denials, and prison sentences, and his logic just makes good sense.
The school board eventually votes to end the unpopular lockout, despite dissenting votes from the principal and the chairwoman of the board. Carter is about to quit, but he finds the players sitting at school desks in the gym, with teachers tutoring them. The players point out that even though the gym is reopened, the school board can't force them to play. Carter is heartened and decides to stay, thanking the players.
The team makes it into the state high-school championship playoffs. The climactic game takes place in the tournament's first round against the #1 ranked in the state, St. Francis. In the last second, Crane makes the winning shot to end Richmond's season.
Over the closing song, it is shown that six of the players went on to play college basketball.
Coach Ken Carter - Samuel L. Jackson
Ken Carter, a successful sports equipment shop owner, accepts the job of basketball coach for his old high school, Richmond, CA. He was once a star on the Richmond High School basketball team. He lives with his supportive girlfriend and his only son, Damien Carter.
Coach Carter is a responsible basketball coach. He has his own way to train the students and became the special coach. He set his own rule and signed a contract with his players. Most of the rules can’t be accept as they felt the rules in contract are over the limit (such as maintain a minimum grade average of 2.3, attend all classes, sit in the front row, and wear a coat and tie on game day) yet they still can’t get the reason behind of setting those rules. Thus, some players left the team.
Coach Carter want his players respect him and themselves. He tries to change the way of talking of the boys. In his view, ‘nigger’ insults our ancestors. He requires the boys use the word ‘sir’ to address each other in the team.
In view of Coach Carter, a strict and discipline coach only can produce a great team. The team does a turnaround by focusing on the basics, and their progress is shown in quick-cut sequences of basketball action. Every technique and skill use in basketball was given a name by Coach Carter. He used to tell his players a short story of a girl and use the girl name as the new name of the skill. Punctuality is important for him. Punishments will be give to the players who late for practice and talk rudely towards each other. “Suicides” and “push-up” are common punishment and even his sons, Damien also have no exceptions.
He is also a brave and determinate person. He insists to keep his method to teach the boys despite the objection of the society. He cancelled the game and locked the gym without permission from school authority and community when he found out some of the players do not full fill his academic target which state in the contract. His action was a good intension for his players but had been post in the media and protested by the parents. The school board eventually votes to end the locked out even though dissenting votes from the principal and the chairwoman of the board.
Coach Carter is an understanding and sympathetic person. He sympathize the family background of Junior and accept his apologized for what he done. He also let Cruz back to the team after his cousin was killed.
He tried to show them that the stability between their academic and basketball can give them a better future as they can enter into college. He started to have a heart to heart to talk with the boys and told them the statistic of boy enter the jail. He success convince his player that they have a great chance to enter college and will have a bright future if they can maintain their good result in academic.
In short, Coach Carter is such a great coach. He makes every decision just for the sake of his players. He still insists his own method to ensure they can stable between academics and basketball despite the criticized by the social. He wants them to have a bright future and continue their studies in college but not enter the jail. And, he makes it.
Richmond Oiler Basketball Team
Damien Carter - Robert Ri'chard, Kenyon Stone - Rob Brown, Timo Cruz - Rick Gonzalez, Jason Worm - Antwon Tanner, Junior Battle - Nana Gbewonyo, Jason Lyle - Channing Tatum, Maddux - Texas Battle and etc.
Damien Carter is the only son of Coach Carter. He transfers from his private school, St. Francis School to Richmond High School to join the basketball team after debate with his father. He agreed to maintain 3.7 average-grade points.
Kenyon had a close girlfriend, Kyra (Ashanti). Kyra was pregnant and they were having conflict over the baby.
Cruz has a cousin named Renny (Vincent Laresca) who gets him in trouble by having him deal drugs. Though he takes Renny’s money, he actually wants to be on the straight up-and-up. His cousin was then been killed.
Junior is a practically illiterate troublemaker whose brother Anton had been killed in some gang violence, and his mother Willa (Octavia Spencer) wants him to straighten up so he can avoid the same fate.
Lyle is the only white guy on this team with any lines in this movie and his father was in prison.
The Richmond High Oiler has not had a good record, winning only 4 games last season and White has no idea how to rein in the players. They always blame each other especially during the games and their fights off court are more decisive than their play on court. The team is poor in performance, discipline and team work.
At first they act arrogant and very rude towards their coach and they even call their coach as dog.
They disobey the rules set by their coach and being rather harsh, Cruz nearly beat the coach up. In the end, Coach Carter manages to change them to respect each other and use the proper language during conservation.
The team then does a turnaround by focusing on the basics, and their progress is shown in quick-cut sequences of basketball action. Cruz begged the coach to let him reinstated the team. Coach Carter agreed with condition that he must complete 2500 pushups and 1000 suicides before Friday which is impossible for him to be complete. The other players willing to share responsibility to him finish part of the punishments. Coach concept “one struggle, whole team struggles” success when the team tries their best to work together as a team.
The team starts winning a holiday tournament and is looking at an impressive undefeated season with Carter’s intense coaching. They started become over confident. Carter manages to point out the mistakes they done during the competition and advice them not to be over confident.
Although the team wins all the games but some players fail to fulfill the terms in contract. Some player skipped the class and failed to honor the GPA requirement which is average-grade point 2.3 or above. Coach Carter felt disappointed. He locked the gym, cancels the game and sends his team to library, where teachers are waiting there to help them improve their academic grade. At first, the team was so angry over what coach had done. The statistics of graduation rates, college admission denials, and prison sentences makes good sense for the team. They started to understand the coach and main reason behind the contract. They willing to fulfill all the conditions in contract and succeeded achieve the grade required.
They lose to St.Francis in the first game of state tournament as they really qualified to be champion. Even though they lose, but some of the players still manage to enter college. Six players went to play college basketball. Damien received a scholarship to the U.S. Military at West Point. Kenyon attended Sacramento State University and received a degree in Communications. Cruz attended Humboldt State University where he became a starting guard. Worm received a scholarship to San Francisco State University where he played point guard for four years. Junior Battle went to San Jose State University on a full scholarship. Jason Lyle went to San Diego State University and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.
Cruz attended Humboldt State University where he became a starting guard. Worm received a scholarship to San Francisco State University where he played point guard for four years. Junior Battle went to San Jose State University on a full scholarship. Jason Lyle went to San Diego State University and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.
Social Issue &Moral Value
Improper Language and Disrespectful Attitudes
In the movie, the improper language became part of the communication. Teenagers and even their parents use the disrespectful language such as nigger, ass, dog, shit and etc. The communities do not respect each other and their own language. They do not respect the elders. When Coach Carter introduced himself and distributed the contract, they do not even pay attention. Cruz tried to beat the coach as he did not satisfied with the contract but failed and push by coach towards the wall. Coach Carter manages to change them to respect each other and use the word ‘sir’ to address each other. Even Carter himself also use ‘sir’ to address the players.
Coach Ken Carter: You shooting the ball, what's your name?
Jason Lyle: Jason Lyle, but I ain't no sir.
Coach Ken Carter: Oh, well are you a madam? =team laugh=
We should respect each other and our own language. As a parent, they should practicing the good manners and become the model of their children.
Pregnancy of Teenagers
Kyra, Kenyon’s girlfriend was pregnant underage. Her cousin also had two kids at the age 19 only. Kyra plan to give birth to the baby and sacrificed her studies while Kenyon want enter college and fulfill his dream to play college basketball. Kenyon was in dilemma. They can’t reach agreement and ended up with quarrel. In the end, Kyra abort the baby as she think that this will be the best way for both of them.
Pregnancy of teenagers increases from year to year. In such a young age, they still cannot manage to face the pregnancy. Most of the cases ended with abortion. Even though the baby haven born but it is stills a precious life. Some of the statistic also state that most of the young parents easily to have conflict and in the end divorce. Think twice before you do, once you did no return.
Cruz gets involved in the drug-dealing activity. He had obscure relationships with his cousin, Renny involving money being passed underhand. Cruz witnesses the murder of his cousin. He felt scared as he just saw his cousin stand beside the street but the next minute he died. He realized that drug dealer will ruin his future and decided back to basketball team. He ran to Coach Carter hostel and begged him to let him back to team.
Timo Cruz: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
No matter addict or drugs dealer are illegal in the eye of law. Drugs bring harm to social and create lots of criminal.
Violence and Gangsterism
Teenagers could fight with others just because of offensive words by the others that sounded uncomfortable to them. Junior’s brother, Anton had been killed in some gang violence. Besides, Cruz wants to beat Carter because of the dissatisfaction. Other than that, someone breaks into Coach Carter’s sports equipment shop to ask him to open the court for the members to play basketball. According to Coach Carter, Richmond High School only graduate 50% of its students and 6% of the graduates go to college. Most of them who enter college are girls. How about guys? There is a great question: where are they going? The answer is probably to prison. As an example, Lyle’s father was in prison.
Coach Ken Carter: In this state you're 80% more likely to go to prison than college.
Coach Ken Carter: [to the people in attendance at the board hearing] You really need to consider the message you're sending this boys by ending the lockout. It's the same message that we as a culture send to our professional athletes; and that is that they are above the law. If these boys cannot honor the simple rules of a basketball contract, how long do you think it will be before they're out there breaking the law? I played ball here at Richmond High 30 years ago. It was the same thing then; some of my teammates went to prison, some of them even ended up dead. If you vote to end the lockout, you won't have to terminate me; I'll quit.
What did Coach Carter said did make sense too. If a person could not follow the simple rules in basketball court, how could you expect him to follow the rules in society and do not break the laws. Discipline and moral education should be more pay more concentration during lessons in class since young. Violence can’t even solve the problem but lead to bigger problem.
Education system in the movie has revealed that the parents and school officials concern more about winning basketball games than making sure the players graduate. The principal Garrison does not really put much hope on hers students as she knew that the academic result of the school is the last in the whole state. She also asked Coach Carter just focus on the basketball and don’t put too high hope on his players that they can enter college. Even the parents also request Coach Carter to let their kids play basketball without asking them to study anymore as they feel that basketball is the only hope for the children. In the movie, only Carter knew that education is more important and it can change their future. Thus he encourages his players to put education before recreation. He was success to influence the children to make the correct decision and some of them enter college.
Academics and co-curriculum, both of them are important. We could not just concentrate on one of them and neglect the others. As a principal, she should know the important of education and put in more efforts to improve their academics result rather than just concentrate on their sports. She thought that basketball was the only hope for the students but she was wrong. The wrong thinking was the main cause of the rate of social issues increases. Parents should encourage and guide their children to move on with the right things for their own benefits and bright future.
Jason Lyle: [to Coach Carter as he walks into the gym] Sir, they can cut the chains off the door, but they can't make us play.
Damien Carter: We've decided we're going to finish what you've started, sir.
Worm: Yeah, so leave us be, coach. We've got shit to do, sir.
Future is in our own hands. No one can change your future except yourself. Everyone had their different background but doesn’t mean that they don’t have chance to change it. There is a wants, there is a will. No one can change you if you aren't willing to do it.