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Quantum Hoops

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


Quantum Hoops

Cover from the DVD of Quantum Hoops, a documentary about the California Institute of Technology basketball team

Green Forest Films

The Bottom Line

This is an entertaining film, and one worth watching, especially if you're interested in basketball. The team isn't in this for the glory of it, but because they truly enjoy it. It's a pleasant reminder that sports isn't always about winning or even popularity, but sometimes it's just about having fun ... and trying to win.
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  • An intriguing look at a unique basketball team
  • Offers the perspective of Nobel prize winners on college sports


  • David Duchovny's droning monotone of a narration


  • Approximately 85 minutes
  • Narrated by X-Files' David Duchovny
  • Bonus commentary's by director Rick Greenwalk and Head Coach Roy Dow
  • 30 minute featurette on the 2008 Caltech Women's Basketball Team

Guide Review - Quantum Hoops

The California Institute of Technology (CalTech) has no athletic scholarships and the largest ratio of Nobel Laureates to alumni of any college in the world. They also have a basketball team that contains more high school valedictorians (8) than high school varsity basketball players (6), resulting in a straight 245 game losing streak that reached all the way back to 1985!

Then one season that began to change, as the margins of loss dropped from about 60 points per game down, gradually, to about 15 or so. Victory became feasible, as the team struggled to overcome a 20+ year stigma.

This documentary covers that team and that season, focusing on the unique aspects of playing basketball in a university that doesn't provide the normal incentives to play basketball. As the coaches indicate, their interviews clearly indicate that the focus of the students is (and should be) on academics. A losing season isn't seen as a career-ending failure at CalTech, but just as part of the job.

Probably one of the most entertaining aspects of the documentary was when one of the players spoke about basketball in the lunch room to a professor ... only to get back to his room and realize, while viewing the CalTech webpage, that the professor had been awarded the Nobel Prize just the day before. This is the kind of thing that happens at CalTech, I guess.

Though interesting, I can't say that this is a "must have" video ... unless you're a science genius who also loves basketball, in which case I think this would be of extreme interest. Not particularly loving basketball myself, it just didn't do a whole lot for me.

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