On July 20, Netflix released season three of Last Chance U, an acclaimed docu-series that follows the lives of Junior College football players and coaches. The award-winning show follows the lives of players who have the talent to play on a bigger stage, but for whatever reason run into trouble and find themselves on a JuCo campus. The camera crews followed the East Mississippi Community College Lions on and off the field for the first two seasons, before shooting season three at Independence Community College in Independence, KS for the 2017 season.
Season three puts Independence and the rest of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference in the spotlight and shows how grueling a season can be in one of the toughest junior college conferences.
The camera crews follow the Pirates’ football team to BG Products Veterans Sports Complex in El Dorado as Independence faced Butler in a late-season matchup.
The show highlights Butler’s tradition and historic success and focuses on the Grizzlies world-class stadium.
Independence kicker Nino Alibegic, who is one of many Independence players who is focused on in the show, described the KJCCC as a step up from his former junior college conference in Arizona.
“At Arizona Western, in the WSFL, we had a really good team and we would lay it down on teams every week,” said Alibegic.
“When I came here, it was just different. It’s another step. It’s competitive, and any team can go off any week.”
When the Pirates made the trip to El Dorado, Alibegic was impressed with Butler’s football facilities.
“I had never seen a JuCo stadium like that,” explained Alibegic.
“It was really cool, it almost felt like a Division I game. They have great fans. It was a cool experience.”
Alibegic, who is headed to the University of Hawaii to continue his kicking career, didn’t start kicking until his senior year of high school. Soccer was Alibegic’s primary sport growing up, but he decided to join the football team as a senior.
“My senior year I was joking with the other kicker, he was an all-state punter and kicker, about joining the football team. The head coach gave me an opportunity. I didn’t even do any PAT’s or field goals. I just did some kickoffs here and there, because they had their guy already.”
With no game film, Alibegic walked on at Arizona Western where he found immediate success kicking in-game for the first time in his career. Alibegic earned all-conference honors, but Arizona Western still would not offer him a scholarship. When Independence head coach Jason Brown gave him a call in December, he decided to transfer to Independence.
As head coach of the Independence football team, Jason Brown is under the spotlight for the duration of season three. Many viewers criticized Brown’s coaching style, antics, and colorful language, but Alibegic was quick to defend his coach.
“He really has a lot of compassion, and he really cares for all of us,” said Alibegic. “I don’t think they really got enough of that (on camera). I can probably speak on behalf of all the players, even Malik (Henry) and the other ones he butted heads with the most, we all love him and deep down we know he’s going to take care of us. We knew what he was about.”
Alibegic also described what it was like to have cameras on the team on a daily basis.
“In the spring, they asked us if we would be okay with cameras following us everywhere,” said Alibegic.
“They have to do their job. They want the most raw stories. We were all pretty open. We had walkthroughs at 5 AM on Fridays and they were there through everything. They didn’t miss a thing. I can’t complain with how much they put me on. Especially since they didn’t put the kickers on in the first two seasons. I thought overall they did a really good job.”
Netflix is currently planning on shooting season four in Independence again this fall.