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Raisor to sign books at Dec. 13 Basketball Game

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: December 02, 2003
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Dec. 2, 2003

NORFOLK, VA.-- Phil Raisor, an associate profession of English at Old Dominion University was on the losing side of two of the most storied basketball games ever played. He started at guard for the heavily-favored Muncie Central Bearcats, who fell in the 1954 Indiana State championship to tiny Milan, the David-over -Goliath event that inspired the 1986 film "Hoosiers."

His new book, "Outside Shooter" (2003, University of Missouri Press) chronicles that historic game and Raisor will be on hand on Dec. 13 when ODU takes on Morgan State at the Constant Center for book signings before the game and at halftime. A portion of the proceeds for book sales that night will support the ODU Intercollegiate Foundation for athletic scholarships.

After high school, Raisor went on to receive a basketball scholarship at the University of Kansas, where he watched his Wilt Chamberlain-led Jayhawks lose the 1957 NCAA Championship in triple overtime to North Carolina.

But "Outside Shooter" transcends sports. In it, Raisor recounts the hard knocks and hard-won triumps of a basketball odyssey across 1950's America during an era in which a racially divided society was taking halting steps toward integration and few places held more tension than the sports arena.

Raisor saw firsthand the toll of racism on Muncie's star player, John Casterlow, whose life followed a trajectory from playing the legendary Oscar Robertson to a virtual draw in the Indiana high school playoffs to death in the streats of Detroit at age 23.

Later, at Louisiana State University, after transferring from Kansas, Raisor, spurred by the memory of Casterlow, joined in early attempts to integrate the LSU campus. From Indiana to Louisiana, he saw the ordeal of racism reveal character - including his own - at depths beyond the illumination even of competitive sport.

Devoted though Raisor was to basketball, "Outside Shooter" captures the period of his life in which he gradually stopped defining himself in terms of the game. His basketball fortunes eventually became overshadowed by the rest of his life: the competing measures of acceptance and expectation from his family and companions; the courage and challenge offered by a young woman equally bent on accomplishment; his struggles with failure and doubt juxtaposed with his awakening intellect and conscience. He discovers the sense of purpose that will carry him beyond his playing days and into adulthood.

A member of the ODU faculty since 1969, Raisor teaches courses in 20th Century American, British and world poetry, fiction, and drama, as well as the craft of poetry and the works of Joyce, Faulkner, O'Casey, Yeats, and Snodgrass.

Raisor previously edited "Tuned and Under Tension: The Recent Poetry of W.D. Snodgrass."

To obtain a copy of the book or arrange an interview, contact Jay Lidington at 683-4683 or jlidingt@odu.edu.

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