In the preview clip, Melvin talked with Wendell Pierce, the team’s assistant coach. Pierce explains Adams’ positive influence: “He’s like what the Pope is to the Vatican, what Obama was to the United States of America. Like, Lou is probably the most important person. He’s like the glue in this area. It’s not anything that he cannot help out with.”
Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander wrote about the Orr basketball program in “A Season Under the Gun,” which followed the team throughout the season and culminated in a five-part series in February. The school, which won the Class 2A basketball championship in March, is located on the West Side in what Telander described as “Ground Zero in Chicago’s world of violence.” As coach and assistant dean of students Adams has been a mentor to the players on the team, helping them get into college and stay away from the violence that surrounds them.
‘‘I can’t really tell you how it is for these kids,” Adams told Telander in February. “I talk to them all the time about the dangers of the city. Every day. It’s not about basketball — I’m in a whole different world.”
In June, Orr Academy played a charity game against Lake Forest, with all proceeds going towards the Orr basketball program.
IF IT LOOKS LIKE HE’S COACHING AS IF SOMEONE’S LIFE DEPENDS ON IT, IT’S BECAUSE IT DOES. THIS IS THE ILLINOIS STATE HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP. EVERYTHING COACH LOU ADAMS HAS WORKED SO HARD FOR ALL SEASON HAS COME DOWN TO THIS ONE FINAL MOMENT. FOR HIM, IT’S ABOUT MUCH MORE THAN A TITLE. IT’S ABOUT SAVING HIS PLAYERS’ LIVES. LOU IS HEAD COACH AT ORR ACADEMY ON CHICAGO’S WEST SIDE. IT’S AT THE CENTER OF SOME OF THE CITY’S DEADLIEST GUN VIOLENCE.