I love this anime! It's one of the best I've ever seen! Most of the characters are likable, the story is great and it has depth, and the animation gotten better as it progressed! The humour is just right and the main protagonist, Sakuragi Hanamichi is the best main character ever!!! I watched this when i was a kid and now I'm re-watching it again! First off, it's really amazing to see Sakuragi's progress from a slacker guy to an awesome basketball player. Of course, mix the hard trainings and tough matches with his stubborn and fiery personality, and you get humour! The animation was good overall but it was better later in the series. When I saw Sakuragi getting a rebound or making a dunk, I get chills down my spine. So props to the guys who animated the story.
There was also that Dr. T guy. He provided some useful informations on basketball. Though I find him annoying sometimes for stopping a game, he did give info on basketball plays and rules.
About Haruko and Rukawa, I don't think there's much between them because Rukawa is too occupied with basketball to notice her. But he did eventually took notice of her later in the end. In episode 99, he made a shot in the practice match with Shoyo-Ryonan and Haruko said, "Nice shot!" and Rukawa replied, "Yeah." Even the fangirls were jealous of her. So, I guessed he must've acknowledged her at that point. I do think they would be adorable together if Rukawa wasn't so cold and emotionless.
But I think Haruko and Sakuragi is much better and cuter because Haruko always treats Sakuragi as her best friend but Sakuragi on the other hand, has a crush on her. So it's interesting to see them interact. And besides, Sakuragi has a good heart deep inside. He doesn't deserve to be heartbroken.
All other four Shohoku starting members, Akagi, Rukawa, Mitsui and Miyagi are likable, no, Lovable. And each of them has their own personalities. Akagi with his bossy attitude and his passion for basketball (not to mention he acts like a big bro to Sakuragi), Rukawa who seemed cold but actually is a stubborn person achieving for the best, Mitsui who was a bad guy in the beginning but became a mentor to the younger members in the end and Miyagi with his cuteness and his crush for Ayako-san. So, yeah, this is definitely one of the things that makes an anime great.
Even though I really hoped that this anime had continued, I also feel that it ended at the right time, which is the moment they were going to ride the train to the Inter-Highs tournament. If you dragged the series too much, it will eventually become boring and get less ratings.
Overall, I am really thankful to the creators of this anime for this series because it had provided a great entertainment, story and inspiration to everyone.