|“||I’m wearing the Taiei uniform I’ve always wanted. I’m definitely going to catch the ‘Thread’||”|
Keisuke Mineta (峯田 圭介, Mineta Keisuke) is a first-year center who plays for Yokohama Taiei High. At Present, Mineta is a bench player, through sheer hard work and determination is trying his best to earn a spot in the teams’ starting lineup. He is called ‘conehead’ by Shiraishi and Yakuma.
Mineta is about 188 cm tall. Upon his introduction, he had medium length messy black hair and later he changed it to a buzz-cut. He has black colored eyes, and his number jersey is number 29.
Middle School Years
Mineta attended Yokohama City West middle school in Kanagawa Prefecture. He was a star athlete on his junior high team. Upon his arrival, the basketball club started winning most of their matches at the District Tourney. So, there was a sudden buzz about him at school. Many girls his age started to ask him out on dates. Mineta rejected all of them; his heart was set on Akiyoshi. She was a member of the girl’s basketball team at Yokohama City West. It was a one-sided relationship. Before the match against Saijo High, Akiyoshi informed Mineta that she was in love with Kaname, a star center for that team. Keisuke was devastated by the news. So, he vowed to beat Shigeyoshi’s team. Mineta’s club lost the match by 32 points. He was shocked and humiliated by this defeat. Mineta was amazed that even though Kaname’s team won the game, Shigeyoshi was still receiving a scolding by his seniors and coach. Next year at the District Tourney, Mineta’s team made it in the tournament bracket to have a rematch with Saijo High. Little did he know, Kaname quit playing basketball. At the practice game with Kuzuryū High, when Mineta saw Shigeyoshi, he availed the opportunity to avenge his defeat.
Yokohama Taiei High (practice session)
Mineta made his debut in the series during Yokohama Taiei’s practice session. He is now a freshman at this school. The basketball club is one of the top 5 teams in the Kanagawa region. Mineta is trying his best to earn a place in the teams’ starting lineup. The training regimen is extremely hard. Many of the rookies are unable to keep up. Mineta, midway through exercise, usually passes out. He is then awakened by Yakuma or other seniors from his team.
Shiraishi, who is the ace of Yokohama Taiei High, is Mineta’s idol. Keisuke praises Sei’s basketball skills and contrasts his transition and style of play to a swan. Due to the difference in their skillset, Mineta feels nervous to speak to him. However, the two bump into each other in their club’s laundry room. Keisuke politely says hello and tells Sei, he will do his laundry. Shiraishi yawns and bluntly tells Mineta to quit the basketball team. Keisuke is devastated and shocked to hear those words coming from his teams’ superstar. Mineta packs his stuff and starts to walk out of the club’s dorm room. Freshmen from his team try to stop him, Sakamaki asks Mineta to reaffirm his voluntary withdrawal from the club. As Keisuke starts to head out, Yozan joins and tells his coach to let him go. Mineta glares at Kamiki and mutters, who is he to judge him and believes that Yozan, being the smallest member on the team, is not a foe or rival to him and other first-year students at Yokohama Taiei High. Seeing Kamiki’s determination and emitting aura, Keisuke doesn’t say a word to him. Since it's late at night, Mineta decides to stay and will depart tomorrow morning. The next day, Keisuke meets Fuwa at their school’s cafeteria. Fuwa asks him about the rumors surrounding his withdrawal. Mineta confirms that he will quit the club and praises Hyou’s skills that even though he skips most of the practice sessions, he can still wear the Taiei’s uniform. Fuwa tells Mineta that skills mean everything to him, and weak players don’t interest him because Yokohama Taiei is just a stepping stone. Mineta, upon hearing that is shocked and depressed at the same time. He feels inferior to Hyou and everyone at Yokohama Taiei High.
Before departing, Mineta says his last farewell to his peers and mutters that he made the right decision to quit the team. As Keisuke head towards the school’s entrance gate, Shiraishi, from his room’s balcony, throws Mineta’s basketball shoes at him. Sei tells Keisuke he should take these sneakers and questions, aren’t they important to you? Upon hearing that, whatever little respect Mineta had for Shiraishi was all lost at that particular moment. The same day, at night-time, Mineta somehow manages to sneak inside his former team’s locker room. To avenge his humiliation, Keisuke tries to find Shiraishi's shoes to place bananas inside them. While searching, he finds a cart full of tattered brand new basketball shoes. He picks up one of the shoes and is amazed that all these new sneakers got torn after a month of use. Mineta then reminisces his previous conversations with Hyou, Yozan, and Shiraishi. He understands what each of them was trying to say and gets angry at how naïve he was even to think that he stood on equal footing against them. Whatever he’s been doing on the team since day one is wrong and not enough. He has to work even harder than before if one day he hopes to make it into Yokohama Taiei’s starting lineup.
The following day, Mineta cuts his hair. While making his way to his former teams’ gymnasium, he tells himself that aspirations and dreams don’t make a difference; through sheer hard work and determination, one can overcome any obstacle in their life. He opens the gym's door, and apologizes to Sakamaki and his peers, and requests the coach to take back his previous withdrawal. Yohito smiles at him and accepts Mineta’s apology. Similar to last times, midway through exercise Mineta passes out. Yakuma wakes him up and tells Keisuke to clean the gym. Yokoyama praises his efforts and tells Mineta that he is not alone; other first-year students also experienced the same outcome. Shiraishi also jumps in and compliments Mineta on his efforts. Keisuke feels empowered and appreciative as he thanked him.
- “So cool… He’s like a swan. I haven’t spoken to him (Shiraishi) once yet.” – to himself (Chapter 113)
- “I was treated as a superstar during middle school. But here I am, at the bottom of the food chain. No, wait. I’m not at the bottom of the food chain. That shorty (Yozan) is.” – to himself (Chapter 113)
- “I want to get on the court asap. To be able to play with him (Shiraishi).” – to himself (Chapter 113)
- “It’s okay you don’t have to stop me. I know you all. To tell you the truth, I was beginning to feel my limitations. You all probably think of me as a nuisance, anyways right? I’m leaving my shoes so somebody else can use them” – to his Yokohama Taiei teammates (Chapter 113)
- “You can’t compete with them either and you know it. What the hell do you think you can do with that height of yours! There’s nothing that I can say back to something like that. The aura that he’s emitting makes words useless!” – to Yozan Kamiki (Chapter 113)
- “You’re so amazing Fuwa-kun. You can skip practice, but you still manage to hold on to your uniform.” – to Hyou Fuwa (Chapter 113)
- “Shiraishi-sempai told me that I should quit. It really shocked me, but, when I thought it over, I knew he was right. No matter what I did… I always felt like I’ve reached my limit.” – to Hyou Fuwa (Chapter 113)
- “I’m sure that my decision was right. I live in a different world from these people. Too different. I’m just a commoner.” – to himself (Chapter 113)
- “Dammit if I’m just gonna quit like that. I’ll have to leave my mark behind. I was an idiot to look up to somebody like him (Shiraishi).” – to himself (Chapter 113)
- “Wrath a 1000 times for kindness! Feel mine right now and weep! I’m gonna stuff them into his (Shiraishi) basketball shoes. And when he wears them, they’ll go like ‘spurt.’ I hope that idiot remembers me when he sees the bananas!” – to himself (Chapter 113)
- “Wait a minute. Not how long, But since when. This one. This one, too. They’re all brand new models. Can basketball shoes get this worn out in just a few months! What the hell am I doing!” – to himself (Chapter 113)
- “Aspirations and dreams don’t make a shred of difference in overcoming this wall. It can’t be reached. It can’t be avoided. There’s almost no difference between what’s left behind and that which leaves it behind. That’s what it boils down to!” – to himself (Chapter 113)