Like Hoop Dreams, director Lee's latest revolves around a hot high-school basketball star (NBA-er Ray Allen, as the kid poetically named "Jesus"). And like Blue Chips, it's about the dirty business of college recruitment. Washington gives a slam-dunk performance as Jesus' temperamental father, serving a prison term for the death of his wife.

He gets furloughed with the promise of a shortened sentence if he can convince Jesus to attend the Governor's alma mater. Lee makes a great-looking film, though the soapbox message about greed gets played out early on and Allen looks a bit stiff as his character sulks through his Big Decision. Lee's stylistically flashy ending, while edgy and striking, comes up short. And though he should have drawn up a tighter game plan instead of showboating, but his hoops hoopla still has enough game (mostly in the form of Washington) for a win.

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