Star basketball player, coach, and novelist, Charley Rosen is steeped in his subject and is the first writer to make basketball the stuff of the great American novel. With Barney Polan's Game, Rosen takes on the legendary point-shaving scandals of 1950 and '51, when the best of the college basketball players took money from gamblers in return for affecting the outcomes of games, never knowing that in the process they were trading in their innocence and love of the game—until they were caught, and the scandal moved them from the sports pages to the news pages across the nation. Barney Polan's Game is based heavily in fact and weighs in on the issues of character and morality that were in the balance.
Barney Polan's Game's cast of characters includes Barney Polan himself, veteran sportswriter and "minor celebrity in all five boroughs"; Jimmy O'Hara, second-string clerk in the Manhattan D.A.'s office, "with his long bony nose that always reminded Barney of a can opener"; gambler Johnny Boy Gianelli; coaches Matt Fleischer and Henry Carlson; and the players, black, white, Jewish, and Catholic: black star Otis Hill and his protégé, newcomer Royce Johnson; Ray Paluski, Jr., son of a basketball legend; and high-scorer Stevie Schreiber, among many others. No one will walk away from the scandals unscathed; many of the guilty will have their lives and careers ruined, others among the guilty will end up in the Basketball Hall of Fame.