The true-life story of a coach who tries to teach his players that there's more to life than basketball is brought to the screen in this sports drama. Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) was once a star player on the Richmond High School basketball team in Richmond, CA, and years later, after establishing himself in publishing and marketing, he returns to the school and to the team as the new basketball coach. Carter quickly sees that his work is cut out for him -- the team is having an awful season, and their fights off the court are more decisive than their play on the court. While Carter wants to make the Richmond cagers into a winning team, he also wants a lot more -- to teach the boys to respect themselves and one another, and that they must excel in the classroom as well as in the gymnasium. Under Carter's guidance, the team turns their losing season around, with the state title a genuine possibility. However, when Carter learns that a number of his players have let their grade point averages slip below 2.3, as mandated in a contract he entered into with the students, he decides to lock the team out of the gym and send them into study hall until their marks improve. Carter's plan quickly becomes a subject of controversy among parents and team boosters, and their objections are soon picked up by the local news media, many of whom are not sympathetic to Carter's belief that his players must have goals beyond college ball or the NBA. Coach Carter also features Rob Brown and Rick Gonzalez as members of the team, and R&B diva Ashanti in her film debut as the girlfriend of one of Carter's players.