Cover image for Rucker Park setup
Rucker Park setup
Volponi, Paul.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Viking, 2007.
Physical Description:
149 pages ; 22 cm
While playing in a crucial basketball game on the very court where his best friend was murdered, Mackey tries to come to terms with his own part in that murder and decide whether to maintain his silence or tell J.R.'s father and the police what really happened.
Reading Level:
790 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.0 5.0 114838.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.4 9 Quiz: 40948 Guided reading level: Z.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction 1:C-POP-MAYR
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction 1:C-POP-MAYR
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction 1:C-POP-MAYR

On Order



Best friends Mackey and J.R. have waited their whole lives to win the basketball tournament at Rucker Park, where their favorite pro ballers squared off against street legends. But the day of their big game, J.R. is fatally stabbed—and it's Mackey's fault, even though he didn't wield the knife. Now Mackey has a score to settle, but the killer is watching his every move.

Author Notes

Paul Volponi is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult novel Black & White. From 1992 to 1998, he taught adolescents on Rikers Island in New York City to read and write. Mr. Volponi worked at a day treatment center like Daytop teaching students and helping them prepare for the GED. Mr. Volponi lives in New York City.

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-In this intense sports novel, Mackey is about to realize his ambition of participating in one of Rucker Park's legendary street basketball tournaments. When he and his friend J.R. are chosen to play on rap star J-Greene's squad, the Greenbacks, it seems that their dreams are coming true. Then J.R. is murdered on the court, and Mackey finds himself haunted by the role he played in the tragedy. J.R.'s father, Stove, who is refereeing the tournament, knows that Mackey has not told the truth about J.R.'s death; the man's thoughts form a Greek chorus to the action on the court and Mackey's inner struggles. In high-velocity street ball, elbows and punches fly as players zigzag and streak across the court, and eager crowds line up to see mind-boggling steals and gravity-defying slam dunks. Volponi's sportswriting is finely attuned to the action, and he weaves the true, storied history of Rucker Park, located in New York City's Harlem, throughout his story. At times, the drama threatens to boil over, but Volponi keeps things in check with driving sports action and nuanced characterizations. Recommend this fine work to basketball fans, and to those who've enjoyed Walter Dean Myers's and James Bennett's sports novels.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.