Broken Family. Readers can empathize with Ed and the emotions his family deals with throughout the book. This includes moving to college, divorce, growing apart with family members (brother) and learning to overcome new "normal" family challenges.
Basketball. Sports are popular with many different types of people, so it broadens the scope of potential readers. They will connect with Ed's passion for sports via the game and his journalism. This can be through his own experience and that of his brother (who is seemingly forced into the family legacy of the game).
Romance. The romance isn't typical, but it demonstrates how complicated relationships can be. The relationships are honestly raw and include dating two people at once, betrayal, growth, and sex.
College. When Ed goes to college, he struggles with doing the right thing and making sure he can advance professionally. This includes job opportunities, scholarships, classes, and relationships.
New Adult Fiction: A coming-of-age story for younger adults. This genre currently has a decent popularity and having a new adult fiction novel with a male character as the lead is rare.