Sports Illustrated is looking to attract people to their over-the-top subscription SI TV sports programming service with original content, and they’ve now released a trailer for one of the most anticipated projects there: famed film figure Mike Tollin’s feature-length high school basketball documentary We Town.
SI executive producer of sports video and SI TV vice-president (programming) Josh Oshinsky recently told AA that original documentaries are going to be a big focus for SI TV, saying “We need to be that legitimate 30 for 30 alternative,” and Tollin’s We Town certainly appears to be a move along those lines, focusing on “the greatest high school starting five of all time.”
Here’s a look at the trailer:
The film follows Westtown High School (in West Chester, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia)’s Moose basketball team during the 2016-17 season, where they had projected top-five NBA picks Mo Bamba (now a freshman at Texas) and Cam Reddish (now a Duke signee) playing together, along with other top players like Brandon Randolph and Jake Forrester. It covers the team’s quest for back-to-back state titles, and also some other intriguing storylines, such as the interplay between coach Seth Berger (also known for starting and then later selling AND1) and his son TJ, a backup guard on the team.
Oh, and did we mention that this lineup’s really good? As per PennLive, they had four players ranked in the top 100 nationally (albeit with three in the 2017 class and two in the 2018 class) and a fifth inside the top 300. This February 2017 MainLine Today piece gives you a bit of a hint about what to look for from this team:
[Berger] doesn’t want to miss a minute of his team’s 2016-17 season, which is shaping up to be the best in school history. Since taking over as head coach in 2007, Berger has lifted Westtown to the top of the Friends Schools League and the Pennsylvania independent-school pile. During that time, he has coached a collection of first-rate athletes, including Daniel Ochefu, who helped Villanova win the national title last season.
But Berger has never had a team like this one. There aren’t too many schools that boast a roster with so much talent: the nation’s fourth-best senior, the fourth-ranked junior and the No. 40 senior, along with at least two other Division I prospects. Westtown will travel the country to play some of the nation’s finest programs, appear on ESPN, and attempt to climb the USA Today Super 25 table, where they debuted at No. 11. “We want to prove we shouldn’t be 11—we should be No. 1,” says Cameron Reddish, the heralded junior.
“It’s definitely fun, just knowing what everybody on the team can do,” says senior guard Brandon Randolph. “Everybody is hard to guard. Nobody can stop us.”
Randolph’s superlative proclamation is forgivable, given how stacked the team is. The Moose look more like a college team in terms of height, thanks to a starting lineup that starts at 6-foot-6 and tops out at 6-foot-11, making it bigger than some NBA outfits.
It definitely sounds like there’s an interesting story there, and the footage from this trailer looks pretty good. Tollin has a nice track record of telling sports stories; he’s had an impressive film career, including serving as a producer on Varsity Blues, Radio and Coach Carter, producing various projects from Smallville to The Franchise: A Season With The San Francisco Giants to Fastball,.
He also served as a consulting producer for the first batch of 30 for 30 films, and directed the 30 for 30 Small Potatoes: Who Killed The USFL? (which drew quite the amazing response from Donald Trump way back in 2009) and last summer’s 25-year-journey Morningside 5 on ESPN, which also focused on a famed high school basketball team. So this may well be worth checking out.
The full feature will be available on SI TV (which can be accessed through Amazon Channels) beginning Friday, March 9.