Netflix’s Last Chance U: Basketball inadvertently became one of the first documented in-the-moment looks at the effect Covid-19 has had on competitive sports—on the opportunities denied young athletes, the tournaments canceled, seasons skipped, and scholarships missed.
While it may be easy to pass over the frustrations of young basketball players—what’s a canceled tournament in the face of a global pandemic, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands?—for many East Los Angeles (ELAC) players and other junior college (JUCO) athletes, these brief playing years may decide their financial eligibility for college and a chance at changing circumstances for themselves and their families.
ELAC head coach John Mosley could see the danger almost immediately. In March 2020, as the Huskies prepared for the state tournament in San Francisco—a stage where many players could gain the attention of college scouts and lock in scholarships for the following school year—their season abruptly ended. They were literally on the bus ready to depart when the call came in.
Mosley could then already foresee months ahead where the players might be isolated from coaches and other support groups. Without that guidance, he feared what may happen to his kids. “We’re already looked upon as damaged goods,” he explains in the documentary’s final moments. “You’re from the hood. You’re stereotyped this way. This is how they see you. There’s no doors open. … That’s why I’m here.”
The Huskies never resumed play in 2020. Still, many in that tournament-bound team were lucky enough to lock down scholarships in the following months. The next group of players, Mosley fears, may not be so lucky. ELAC has since canceled the 2020-2021 season (the season that would currently be in the playoffs). “My biggest thing is not letting these kids down,” says Mosley. “I don’t want these kids to feel like, ‘I did everything I was supposed to do, and it didn’t work.’”
Here’s what the future of the program and the Netflix series might look like.
Will there be a Last Chance U Basketball Season 2?
Given the college canceled the 2020-2021 basketball season, we aren’t likely to see any Season 2 focused on court play. Last Chance U has traditionally followed programs for at least two seasons, meaning ELAC would have been the feature of a follow-up season. Just because the season is canceled, however, doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t get a look inside junior college athletics during this time period; in fact, it would seem this athletic moment is ripe for documentary coverage.
Netflix, though, has not yet announced plans for any type of Season 2. The last we saw of Coach Mosley and the ELAC players and staff was in August of 2020. The coaching staff was, by then, already working with new players over video conference.
While there would be no resultant basketball season, we’re still hoping for a look inside this past year—what it’s meant for college athletics and the futures of so many young players and students relying on athletic scholarships.
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