America can watch Eddy Curry (below) devour a steaming plate of
fried chicken, crash his 6'11" frame into bed or get a puzzled
look when his car gets a flat tire. Eddy may feel like Truman
Burbank, but this isn't The Truman Show. It's Fox Sports Net's
weekday half-hour documentary Preps, which follows the lives, on
and off the court, of three Chicago-area schoolboy basketball
stars: Eddy, a senior center at Thornwood High; Sean Dockery, a
junior point guard at Julian High; and Kyle Kleckner, a senior
shooting guard at suburban Downers Grove North High. Since its
premiere in February, Preps has not only developed a cult
following among hoop dreamers but has also given NBA and college
scouts an unprecedented window into the lives of prospective
Take Duke. Spurred by a scene in one of the opening episodes in
which the 6'3" Sean and his coach separate a Blue Devils
recruiting letter from a stack of more than a hundred such
missives, Duke has requested tapes of the show. In one scene
three weeks ago Sean's sister Cookie receives a letter from Blue
Devils assistant Chris Collins with a mocked-up SI cover of Sean
in a superimposed Blue Devils uniform.
For the past 12 weeks lone Preps cameramen have spent six to 16
hours a day, four to five days a week, with each player. The
segments are telecast three weeks after filming. "It's a raw
show," admits co-executive producer Peter Rudman. It also has
some vivid moments: Viewers were taken outside the United Center
locker room of the Los Angeles Clippers when Curry's pal, rookie
Darius Miles, says to Eddy, a possible lottery pick, "You know
what you want," meaning, to go straight to the NBA.
Refreshingly, the Preps stars come from solid two-parent homes.
Eddy can expect his dad, Big Eddy, to revoke his driving
privileges if he uses the car without asking, and the
Dockerys--Mom, Dad and the three kids--often pass the evening
around the dinner table teasing one another.
COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER