Ben Manibag and Virgil Hu are stereotypical overachieving Asian-Americans whose singular goal is to gain acceptance into highly prestigious Ivy League universities. Ben engages in perfectionistic pursuits including learning a new SAT word daily, and trying to best Calvin Murphy's record for free-throw shooting percentage. Ben reveals that his perfectionism cloaks another side of his life, including toilet-papering houses with Virgil and other petty crimes including the theft and return of computer equipment with Virgil and his cousin Han Hu to earn easy money. Ben is involved in many school clubs, mainly to pad his college application. He makes the basketball team, though he ends up receiving only token playing time. At the same time, Ben develops a crush on his new lab partner, Stephanie Vandergosh, a girl of Asian descent adopted by a white family.