Netflix's Last Chance U: Basketball was obviously a change-up from the sports series' football focus, but it still brought just as much tension, jubilation, and turmoil as any other season. The drama was actually delivered in bulk through the East Los Angeles Huskies' team dynamic with star player Joe Hampton, who faced frustration with coming off the bench as a former Division 1 standout.
The series frequently showed Hampton's blowups on and off the court, and even a stint in which he missed a few practices with no heads up or explanation. It would be fair for Last Chance U: Basketball viewers to assume Joe Hampton's impulsive actions were a major source of the junior college's problems overall, but coach John Mosley revealed to Vulture that the Netflix series' depiction only showed a specific angle of a much larger picture.
I’ll just tell you this: It’s not just Joe. We were grateful that Joe got to share his story and it was compelling, but there was more than just Joe. There’s 15 guys there. They all have a story. They all have responses, but I don’t think they had enough film for all 15 guys. There were 15 guys, and they were able to capture his story and Deshaun and KJ [Allen], but there were 15 guys with the same story. They have the same baggage, and you try to manage all of that.
Joe Hampton was certainly a part of the Huskies' adversity, but as coach John said, he was just one of 15 players. Last Chance U: Basketball only focused on a few of the athletes beyond Joe, and shaped the story around their lives, as well as the coaches. A large part of Hampton's story was about his frustration and fall from grace as a former top prospect in the nation, and being asked to come off the bench behind the less inexperienced player Malik Muhammad.
With that said there's no denying the season did feature Joe Hampton displaying some over-the-top behavior, and the aforementioned stint in which he left practice abruptly and didn't return for a few days was perhaps the most tense moment in the show. Ultimately, coach John Mosley welcomed Hampton back on the squad without much incident, which is better explained by his philosophy with players, noted below:
If you walk out the door because I am trying to lay down some type of rule, law, or 'This is how you need to respond,' if you walk out the door, that’s your choice. If you’re still there and you take it, you’re going to make it. Nobody’s going to fail; nobody fails on my watch. If you’re here, if you’re in the gym, nobody fails. You got to give up on yourself in order for us to give up on you.
Had Joe Hampton walked out and never returned, that could've been the end of it. He returned, though, and coach John Mosley and others welcomed him back with it being mostly water under the bridge. As a viewer, I now wonder what other hectic moments unfolded during that big season with the players who weren't given as big of a spotlight during this initial season. I also wonder if Hampton's position as a lead subject on of Last Chance U: Basketball meant his issues were presented as being a bit more chaotic than they actually were, which almost feels like the case given Mosley's thoughts on the player.