The 1985 movie Teen Wolf, starring a young Michael J. Fox as the aforementioned teen who was also a wolf, was a surprise hit when it came out despite being about a teen who was also a wolf and could play basketball. That was owed mostly to it coasting off the success and stardom Fox had achieved in that year’s earlier release, Back to the Future. But on its own merits, Teen Wolf is still an amusing enough time, being that it is 90 minutes of Fox acting through heavy layers of werewolf makeup and occasionally surfing on top of a van. Also, he throws down several ludicrous windmill dunks while in full werewolf getup.
Teen Wolf is a movie that carries a ton of nostalgia value and cache for the older set—enough that, in 2011, MTV rebooted it in television show form, only with more angst and models. But I’m not here to judge, review or cast aspersions upon Teen Wolf or the feelings that an older generation has about a movie where a young man turns into a werewolf literally during a high school basketball game and somehow doesn’t cause a mass panic. Instead, I want to tackle a far more important topic: Was Michael J. Fox’s Scott Howard actually a good basketball player while in wolf form?
Luckily for you, I’ve unearthed a totally real scouting report put together in the movie. And if you’ve now got a hankering to go put this report up against the real thing, then head over to SI TV, where you can find Teen Wolf and lots of other classic sports movies, documentaries, and original programming.
POSITION: SHOOTING GUARD
WEIGHT: 120 POUNDS
SCHOOL: BEACONTOWN HIGH (BEAVERS), NEBRASKA
• Good shooter with solid mechanics.
• Above-average court vision, particularly on full-court and inbounds passes; good facilitator overall.
• Active hands on defense; good bet to pick up at least three or four steals a game.
• Transformation into werewolf appears to give him several extra inches of height and a significant boost in vertical leap. (Still not sure why turning into a werewolf makes him a better or bigger player; does one of our trainers have a good answer to this one?)
• Not sure if his glowing red eyes pre-transformation actually accomplish anything, but hey, they’re cool to look at and will probably freak out less experienced players.
• Struggles to share the ball while in wolf form; saw him take approximately 200 shots in a single half against a rival school, go 1-on-5 over and over again, growl at teammates and opponents alike, and steal a ball from his own teammate. Not exactly a team player.
• Doesn’t seem to have any understanding of how to run an offense, though I blame that more on Beacontown’s head coach, a Mr. Finstock, who seems more interested in eating hard-boiled eggs on the bench than calling plays.
• No real experience with a winning program, as his school hadn’t won a game in three years and was routinely getting blown out by 50-plus points pre-werewolf transformation.
• Susceptible to common anti-werewolf tactics such as silver bullets and the half-court trap, though the former don't seem easily available in Nebraska and the latter isn’t employed often enough by these small-town schools.
• Thick hair all over body leaves him susceptible to exhaustion and dehydration; recommend consultation with nutritionists and exercise scientists or at least a trip to a pet store with an experienced groomer.
• Would also recommend filing down his claws, as it increases the risk of the ball being punctured and/or someone needing a rabies shot.
• Mildly concerned he might maul or bite a referee if a call doesn't go his way; pretty sure turning a ref into a werewolf is at least a technical foul (though it would get them on our side for future games).
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
• Doesn’t seem like he has full control over the whole werewolf transformation thing, or that it seems triggered by stress. Not sure we want that in close-and-late situations.
• Easily distracted by blonde co-eds who only have an interest in him when he is a werewolf and not his usual self and is only using him to get attention from lunkhead boyfriends, which isn’t exactly a recipe for continued or sustainable romantic success; Scott is better off realizing that the girl who’s been there all along is his best match, as clichéd as that sounds.
• Scott should also consider finding new friends, as the aggressively wacky dude who surfs on top of his moving van, uses him to find hidden stashes of drugs, and tries to profit off his likeness doesn’t seem to have his or anyone else’s best interests in mind (and the last one is probably an NCAA violation).
• Did save the day in the championship game as himself and not the wolf, but let’s be honest, if we’re recruiting this kid, it’s for the wolf. Think of the merchandise opportunities! (Also, there’s not really much to recommend about a 5’5” string bean who has to hop to make free throws. I’d like to keep this job, you know?)
• Have to say, I’m a little concerned that an entire group of otherwise sane and rational people seem to have little to no issue with a teenager randomly and suddenly transforming into a half-man, half-wolf creature. The first time I saw this happen, I just about peed myself, but the kids in the stands were cheering their heads off. Even the referee kept things going like this was the most normal thing in the world. Tried talking to Coach Finstock about it, but he simply began lecturing me on how I should never play cards with a man who has the same first name as a city or date a woman with a dagger tattoo.
• Family situation seems solid; single parent, a father. Not really sure where Scott got his hoops skills from, though, as his dad’s jump shot looks like a brick being thrown out of a crashing airplane.
Worth pursuing; the wolf is a five-star player who can singlehandedly save a program. Needs more coaching and probably some dead chickens every now and then to keep him satisfied, but that's well worth the investment.
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