Joe Morse and John Coy (Night Driving, Strong to the Hoop and 4 for 4) collaborate on Hoop Genius, How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball, Carolrhoda Books. James Naismith is that desperate teacher and in 1891 soccer, lacrosse and indoor football were too much for a class of rowdy male students. Recalling a game from his childhood, Naismith recreated Duck on a Rock with a new set of rules that emphasized finesse and accuracy and minimized contact and brute strength. In one early game a 25 foot shot with a soccer ball into a peach basket was the only point made. No one wanted to leave when Naismith’s whistle blew to signal the end of the game but the next day the class was lined up eager to play again.
Joe Morse’s unmistakable figurative illustrations evoke Thomas Hart Benton and George Bellows. Each page is choreographed beauty with each figure an individual commanding respect yet all the characters rythmically work together communicating focused energy and anticipation unique to this great game.
Joe conducts extensive research when he embarks on a project and he brought to bear important details to make Hoop Genius a success. Many thanks to Zach Marell, creative director and Andrew Karre, editor and Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group Inc. This is Joe’s second book the Zach and Andrew, the first Play Ball, Jackie!