Winning isn’t everything in the game of basketball, but try telling that to perennial loser Hanamichi Sakuragi, who has been turned down by close to 50 girls! However, the one girl that doesn’t outright reject him is Haruko Akagi, a self-professed basketball nut. To impress Haruko, Sakuragi decides to join the basketball team, but there’s one small problem...he doesn’t know how to play the game! However, Sakuragi’s got stiff competition for Haruko’s affection with another hotshot newcomer, Kaede Rukawa. And to make matters worse, he’s started off on the wrong foot with the basketball team captain Takenori Akagi, who just so happens to be Haruko’s big brother.
Despite his inexperience, Sakuragi proves himself to be a quick learner. It also doesn’t hurt that he has incredible athletic potential, including height and an insane vertical jump. However, just relying on pure athletic talent isn’t enough to succeed or, as Sakuragi envisions it, become the ace of the basketball team. What he needs is more practice! But what’s Sakuragi supposed to think when the team’s sent off to Shizuoka for a week of practice with another team and he’s left behind?!
Coach Anzai has a special program prepared for the “basketball genius” Sakuragi, one that will hopefully catch their opponents off-guard. Now that the scouting report is out on this newcomer, teams will more than likely leave him alone when he’s not under the basket. Sakuragi will have to learn how to make a simple jump shot if he has any hope of becoming the basketball star he believes himself to already be.
Only ten days remain until Shohoku’s Nationals debut. Sakuragi’s goal is to make 20,000 jump shots by then. Will he pull through and will the team be prepared for the immense challenge that lies ahead? Find out with the release of Slam Dunk volume 22!
by John Bae