America can watch Eddy Curry (below) devour a steaming plate of fried chicken, crash his 6'11" frame into bed or get a puzzled look when his car gets a flat tire. Eddy may feel like Truman Burbank, but this isn't The Truman Show. It's Fox Sports Net's weekday half-hour documentary Preps, which follows the lives, on and off the court, of three Chicago-area schoolboy basketball stars: Eddy, a senior center at Thorn-wood High; Sean Dockery, a junior point guard at Julian High; and Kyle Kleckner, a senior shooting guard at suburban Downers Grove North High. Since its premiere in February, Preps has not only developed a cult following among hoop dreamers but has also given NBA and college scouts an unprecedented window into the lives of prospective recruits.
Take Duke. Spurred by a scene in one of the opening episodes in which the 6'3" Sean and his coach separate a Blue Devils recruiting letter from a stack of more than a hundred such missives, Duke has requested tapes of the show. In one scene three weeks ago Sean's sister Cookie receives a letter from Blue Devils assistant Chris Collins with a mocked-up SI cover of Sean in a superimposed Blue Devils uniform.
For the past 12 weeks lone Preps cameramen have spent six to 16 hours a day, four to five days a week, with each player. The segments are telecast three weeks after filming. "It's a raw show," admits co-executive producer Peter Rudman. It also has some vivid moments: Viewers were taken outside the United Center locker room of the Los Angeles Clippers when Curry's pal, rookie Darius Miles, says to Eddy, a possible lottery pick, "You know what you want," meaning, to go straight to the NBA.
Refreshingly, the Preps stars come from solid two-parent homes. Eddy can expect his dad, Big Eddy, to revoke his driving privileges if he uses the car without asking, and the Dockerys—Mom, Dad and the three kids—often pass the evening around the dinner table teasing one another.