In Richmond, Calif., local merchant Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), knowing how sports can make a difference in a boy’s education, accepts a job coaching basketball at the same high school where he was a hoops star in the 1970s. Coach Carter really exists, and he gained some notoriety in 1999 for benching his entire team for poor grades, so Mark Schwahn and John Gatins’ script is ostensibly based on a true story. Somehow, though, they manage to include absolutely every cliché in the inspirational-sports-movie book. Trimming 20 minutes or so probably would have helped (the player with the pregnant girlfriend is at least one subplot too many). On the plus side, director Thomas Carter delivers some good game footage, and there’s a commanding performance by Jackson that makes it all worthwhile.