Last Chance U: Basketball season 1, episode 8 recap – the ending explained

By Daniel Hart
Published: March 10, 2021 (Last updated: December 30, 2022)
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Netflix series Last Chance U: Basketball season 1, episode 8 - Bound for Promised Land - the ending explained


“Bound for Promised Land” brings unprecedented perspective and how unexpected, and extreme adversity can impact a sports team. This one of the best chapters in the Last Chance U series.

This recap of Netflix’s Last Chance U: Basketball season 1, episode 8, “Bound for Promised Land” — the ending explained — contains spoilers.

The seventh episode of Last Chance U: Basketball season 1 left audiences on tenterhooks, with ELAC looking to be in for a shock by losing to an underdog in the playoffs. The scene is set; Deshaun is injured and throwing up in the bathroom, before returning to the court to resume play — this has all the drama to go wrong. But then, despite their early setbacks in the game, the team spur on a comeback — an ugly win; there’s jubilation that follows a tense game. If they had won their next three tournament games, they would have won the state. This team was destined for it — undefeated in 29 games.

A Looming pandemic

I completely forgot that this series was filmed before the Covid-19 pandemic; the episode summary warns of the season ending in unexpected ways, and I assumed that would be a loss or not winning the state championship. After winning their last game, it was all about preparing for the tournament; ironically, as John Mosely talks to Rob, there is news coverage in the background discussing Covid-19 in Wuhan — a sense of dreaded nostalgia is felt; I felt anxious even though I already know what’s coming. Like many of us, we assumed normal life would not stop, and John tells his team that they won their last game because of togetherness. The conversations surrounding Covid-19 evolve; spectators will not be able to attend games, including scouts and coaches from other Universities. Last Chance U: Basketball season 1, episode 8 shows blow after blow to the ELAC team.

A journey that ends with “what if?”

It’s difficult to hold back the tears at this point — episode 8 moves from jubilation and ensuring audiences were at the edge of their seats to then being slumped on the sofa, feeling absolutely drained by the experiences shown in this documentary. As the team boards the coach to head to the state tournament, the news comes in — junior basketball is canceled. This is even more unnerving because John Mosley tried to keep things positive before this moment, even suggesting they were in “God’s hands” regardless of what happened. John is a man of faith, but you can forgive him on this occasion — this rocks him; he’s devastated for these children.

It hurts more because they did nothing wrong

In the changing room back in the school, the camera stays on the team — the documentary keeps on rolling; John Mosley delivers a talk and calls the kids the best teams he’s ever had, and the tears begin to flow — he knows they would have won the state. This is more about sport and winning; I am a massive believer that hard work and perseverance coupled with a lack of excuses and learning how to overcome a bad day is the formula of success, no matter what industry you are in, you will fail if you do not work hard.

This episode hurts because these kids, and the coaches, did all that was required for success, and it was not their fault that they never tasted it. It feels like it goes against the rules somehow; these athletes have to accept that their hard work meant nothing — that’s a mental barrier hard to overcome. As the start of the series suggests, these kids only had Christmas off. There were no breaks.

This emotional segment ends with a sense of journey coming to an end; Joe Hampton hugs his coach, knowing John did everything he could for him. The team gets into a circle one last time and say, “family on three”.

What next?

Five months pass, but it’s not all doom and gloom in the ending of  Last Chance U: Basketball season 1, episode 8. We see John has enjoyed family time, got himself a beard, and put on weight, but you can see he hasn’t given up — he’s worked hard to get his kids signed. There’s a risk of athletics getting canceled at his school for a year, and he’s questioning the impacts of that.

Episode 8 breaks down “what happened next” to end the episode:

  • Malik got an offer at Central Michigan University, a D1 school.
  • KJ Allen verbally committed to the University of Southern California, a D1 school.
  • Deshaun got a full scholarship at Sacramento State University, a D1 school.
  • Joe Hampton got accepted for Long Beach State University, a D1 school.
  • Jordan Polynice accepted a scholarship to play at Chicago State University, a D1 school.
  • Marquis Copeland will play next season at Nyack College, a D2 school in New York City.
  • LJ Zeigler accepted a scholarship from Chicago State University, where he will play with Jordan.
  • Taj Regan has declined opportunities from several D2 schools. He is unsigned as he searches for the right fit.
  • Ken Hunter will serve another year as an assistant coach and lead recruiter at ELAC.
  • Rob Robinson will return for another season of ELAC Basketball and hopes for a full-time position with the coaching team.
  • And last but not least, John Mosley hopes to rebuild his team whenever Junior College Basketball returns in California.

Last Chance U: Basketball season 1, episode 8 brings unprecedented perspective and how unexpected, and extreme adversity can impact a sports team. This one of the best chapters in the Last Chance U series.

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