Hardwood is a comedic romp narrated by Jimmy Tribeca, a white point-guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., playing for an otherwise all-black Lewis & Clark College basketball team. Through a fluke, the tiny Portland, Oregon-based college shocks the collegiate basketball world by recruiting one of the nation’s most sought after high school graduates, a scoring machine named Trevor Windgate. With superstar Windgate setting scoring records, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers are in hot pursuit of an undefeated Immaculate Season, until the story reaches its madcap crescendo when two catastrophic events imperil several careers and the team's perfect record.
Tribeca is a psychology major battling the persistent Portland rainfall and a nasty case of Seasonal Affective Disorder -- as well as an aberrant relationship with his on-and-off girlfriend and a relationship of questionable closeness to his mother. The protagonist’s curriculum includes brutal and revealing therapy sessions with a German émigré named Meghan Himmler, a decorated psychologist Tribeca both admires and resents.
The standoffish Windgate is a nature-loving country boy (hence, his decision to attend Lewis & Clark to study environmental law) who has more in common with Tribeca than his black "brothers" from America's inner cities. One militant teammate starts a mail correspondence with Louis Farrakhan and decides to join the Nation of Islam at mid-season and insists on changing his name, setting off a fresh round of tumult.
The team’s head coach, Roman Hoyt, is prescribed a cocktail of anti-depressants to endure the mounting pressure, a situation exacerbated by threats of dismissal from the college’s Athletic Director if Hoyt doesn’t finally win the Northwest Conference Championship – especially after the department bent recruiting guidelines to get Windgate’s letter of intent.