Author John Grisham uses Virginia hoops connections for latest novel

Final Four Basketball
Posted at 10:40 AM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 10:40:32-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Bestselling author John Grisham has written his first basketball novel.

"Sooley" is the story of a talented young basketball player from South Sudan who follows his hoops dreams to the United States to play college basketball.

News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler chats 1-on-1 with Grisham, and learns part of his book research for "Sooley" involved multiple connections from Virginia - which makes sense, as Grisham lives in Charlottesville.

"I'm close friends with Tony Bennett, the [Virginia head men's basketball] coach," Grisham explained. "He's a guy we love here at UVA in Charlottesville. He's a fine person and a fine coach who runs a good program, a clean program and a winning program. Tony walks on water in Wahoo land. I talked to tony about certain aspects of the game."

"I talked to other coaches - it gave me some real insights into the recruiting process," Grisham added. "I even talked to a friend of mine, Bryan Kersey - he's the chief of all Atlantic Coast Conference refs. He gave me some insights into referring the game - the rules, things like that."

"I called upon friends to bail me out," Grisham said smiling.

Bryan Kersey is a native of Newport News and the son of longtime NBA referee Jess Kersey.