The following story contains spoilers for Season 1 of Last Chance U, premiering in March 2021.
The stakes of Netflix’s docuseries Last Chance U: Basketball are made evident early. The series, a sequel of sorts to the other Last Chance U football franchise, returns to junior college (JUCO) athletics, where college and professional sports hopefuls—sidelined due to injury, academic struggles, or behavioral and legal trouble—vie to stay on track, gain college admission, and possibly reach the NBA.
As many JUCO athletes enter during freshman and sophomore years, they have little room for academic or athletic failure; scouts are watching, and the clock is ticking. Perform and graduate, and the player may receive a full-ride scholarship. Falter, flunk, or quit on the team, and the player may never play high-level competitive sports again.
Last Chance U: Basketball Season 1 put the spotlight on the East Los Angeles College (ELAC) Huskies, led by head coach John Mosley and featuring a roster of high-level and former D1 talent, including Deshaun Highler, Malik Muhammad, KJ Allen, and Joe Hampton.
“If you make it to state, that’s your best recruiting opportunity,” Muhammad explains in the series’ opening episode. Advancing through the near 30 game season, seeding high in the playoffs, and winning a spot in an eight-team state championship tournament in San Francisco—accomplishing these things—becomes both the path to a state title and a ticket to maximum college recruitment exposure.
Coach Mosley knows this fact more than anyone. “You get a window, but some of our windows are this small,” he says, showing about a half inch between his fingers. “And a kid needs to be pushed and forced through that one window, and maybe there’s nobody pushing him and saying, ‘Hey, that’s your only window, go!’” Helping the students reach athletic success—which, most importantly includes full scholarships and financial aid for four-year colleges—is Coach Mosley’s “mission.”
But the Huskies’ 2019-2020 season didn’t go exactly as planned, the team forced to bow out when the state tournament was canceled in March. Now, almost a year later, here’s where all the players from the ELAC Huskies ended up.
John Mosley (head coach)
ELAC’s 2020-2021 season was suspended due to safety concerns over Covid-19, but Mosley is still head coach, working with a new group of players. “My biggest thing is not letting these kids down,” he says in the documentary. “I don’t want these kids to feel like, ‘I did everything I was supposed to do, and it didn’t work.’”
Deshaun Highler (shooting guard)
Highler ended up at to his top choice, Sacramento State. He moved there last summer with his girlfriend, Kiera. The Hornets began their season in February. Highler has so far played eight games as a guard.
Malik Muhammad (center)
Muhammad accepted an offer from Central Michigan where he has been playing guard since December.
KJ Allen (forward)
After receiving several offers, Allen decided to play for the University of Southern California (USC). Allen will join the team’s 2021-2022 roster.
Joe Hampton (power forward)
After a four-year hiatus from Division 1 basketball, Joe Hampton joined Long Beach State last year. He’s been playing as the team’s forward since December, averaging over 10 points a game.
Jordan Polynice (forward)
Polynice has since been playing as a guard/forward for Chicago State University. The team’s games this year have been canceled.
LJ Zeigler (guard)
Zeigler also joined Chicago State University. He plays for the team as a point guard.
Marquis Copeland (forward)
Copeland accepted an offer to attend NYACK College. Since January, he’s been playing forward for the Warriors.
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