Players, Fans Get Ready for Upcoming Lacrosse Season

The start of spring has come which means the start for Boys’ Latin lacrosse. The locker room’s filled with lacrosse gear as tryouts begin. The players and fans are ready for the upcoming season.

Returning senior Ryan McNulty, aka Happy, stated, “I am probably most excited to play with my fellow homies.” Happy said that “practice is going well; I really like the music while we warm up.” The team has only been out for four days including minicamp, but it sounds like it is starting off well.

Long-time fan and avid student section leader Cameron Miller said, “The game I am most excited about is the St. Paul’s game.” Cameron continued saying he is looking forward to watching “my friends and fellow seniors play their last season.” He also stated the student section should be pretty rowdy this year.

Returning senior goalie Jack Pezzulla said, “I am excited to be a senior leader and have new kids on the team.” Jack has played on the varsity lacrosse team since his sophomore year and has started ever since.

Jack stated, “The practices are going good and are a lot more fast paced than last year.” This is do to new head coach Brian Farrell.

NBA All-Star Weekend Packed with Celebrities, Entertainment

NBA All-Star weekend took place in Toronto, Canada for three days, February 12-14, where the stars of the NBA could showcase their talents.

It all started Friday night with the Celebrity All-Star game, which had a new twist to it. Due to it being in Canada, the NBA decided to make it Canada stars vs. U.S.A. stars. The star-filled game topped itself this year by adding celebrity coaches as well, who were Drake, rapper and actor, the Team Canada head coach, and Kevin Hart, actor and comedian, the Team U.S.A. head coach.

The game had an easy going fill to it but some of the stars really came to play including the former NBA stars and also current WNBA stars such as Ellena Della Donne and Tracy McGrady. According to ESPN, movie star Jason Sudeikis surprised people with his game when he finished the game with 14 points.

The MVP of the game, Edwin Butler, the lead singer of Arcade Fire, scored 15 points on his way to the MVP award. Kevin Hart, actor and comedian, and also a four-time MVP award winner, started the game coaching but came out of retirement scoring five points.

Saturday night was all about finding out who is the best at what they do. The skills competition included the best ball handlers in the league, then the best shooters in the NBA in the 3-point contest, and then the dunk contest capped off the night.

For the first time ever, the skills competition included the power forward and center positions. In surprising fashion, rookie power forward/center Karl Antony-Towns won the event beating out guard Isaiah Thomas.

The 3-point contest pitted the best shooters in the NBA against each other. The competition started with eight contestants. Each contestant got 60 seconds to shoot a total of 25 balls on five racks, and one of those racks was filled with money balls, worth two points, which could be placed anywhere.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were the two big names in the contest being the two best three-point shooters in the NBA as teammates. Consequently, they ended meeting in the final round along with rookie Devin Booker, the youngest player in the NBA. Klay Thompson won the competition scoring 27 points in the final round to better Curry’s 23 and Booker’s 16, according to ESPN.

The dunk contest brought an end to Saturday’s festivities. It included some of the best high flyers in the NBA.It had four contestants who each got two dunks to decide who would move onto the final dunk off. The scores were judged on a scale of 10 by the five judges. 50 being the best score you could get in total by the five judges.

It had four contestants who each got two dunks to decide who would move onto the final dunk off. The scores were judged on a scale of 10 by the five judges with 50 being the best score a player could get in total by the five judges.

After the first two rounds, the fans could tell who was going to the final round dunk-off, Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon. Zach Lavine took the title over Aaron Gordon scoring two scores of 50 in the final round.

Sunday night brought the All-Star game where the stars of the league met. Fans voted for the players they wanted to see showcase their talents and the coaches vote the reserves in to finish off the roster.

The final score of the game was 196-173 with the West winning the game. Russell Westbrook, the MVP of the game, scored 31 points while Steph Curry scored 26 points to help the West on the way to the win.

The East team struggled but two players really stood out. Paul George scored 41 points and John Wall scored 22 points.

Kobe Bryant announced his retirement this year and due to that, this would be his last All-Star game. It started with him earning the most votes in the fan voting. To honor him, the NBA had a highlight film where his biggest and best moments were showcased, thanking Kobe for all he has done in the league.

Kobe Bryant Plays Final Season of His NBA Career

Following the current 2015-2016 NBA season, Kobe Bryant will be retiring due to old age and continuous injury. Bryant, the future hall of fame player and fan favorite in Los Angeles, is leaving behind a legacy in his 20th season in the NBA.

Kobe broke the news of his upcoming retirement by posting a poem reflecting on his career through the players tribune website in late November. Father time and the snake bite of injury have caught up to Kobe Bryant, and Kobe is much aware of this. In his players tribune announcement, he was quoted saying, “my mind can handle the grind, but my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

Once Kobe’s announcement was made, players, fans, and coaches reaction’s spread like wildfire, fueling discussion and inspiring nostalgic looks into Kobe’s long, great career.

According to basketballreference.com, Kobe’s accolades consist of five NBA titles with two finals MVP trophies, one league MVP award, four all-star game MVP awards and the rank of #3 on the NBA all-time scoring list.  Many would agree that this is quite the resume for a kid who came directly to the NBA after high school.

Former NBA player Shane Battier was quoted via twitter saying, “Kobe pushed me harder than any opponent I’ve faced. He has my hoops respect.”  Jessie Gonzalez, a 25-year-old fan of Kobe, was quoted by the LA Times when he claimed to have dropped everything he was doing when he heard of Kobe’s retirement so he could buy a Lakers ticket.

Many consider Kobe Bryant to be an icon on the court. Boys’ Latin’s very own MJ Black commented on the matter at hand by reflecting on Kobe’s greatness. MJ shared his appreciation of Kobe by saying, “Kobe is Michael Jordan junior.” MJ also called Kobe a go-getter who isn’t afraid to cut throats if it means getting a win.

MJ Black seems to be one of many avid supporters of Kobe, seeing the hero side of Kobe vs. the villain side that some opponents may see.

While faced with the question of what his post-retirement plans were, Kobe went on to explain how he is interested in the concept of a story. “I’ve always been interested in the hero vs. villain movement”, Kobe explained in an ABC news interview. Kobe said he wants to frame a story around the darker emotions that freeze athletes so he can teach them to be better.

Kobe Bryant, considered by many to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, will go down in basketball history as a passionate leader who focused on one thing: winning.

Nalley Fresh Takes Over Baltimore’s Taste Buds

In 2011, Cooper Nalley’s father, Greg Nalley, opened Nalley Fresh. Nalley Fresh is a restaurant modeled after the buffet style, ordering technique of Chipotle, which serves a variety of healthy options all compiled together by each individual customer’s preferences. Nalley Fresh allows people to “Express Your Inner CHEF,” as stated in their slogan.

Nalley Fresh was a result of Greg Nalley’s inspiration to provide a healthy option to people while still making a great tasting product. Nalley has been quite successful in receiving the approval of the Baltimore community. Nalley’s restaurants have a four and a half out of five rating on Yelp, which is quite a good score.

This approval is clear to Cooper Nalley, who has gotten to see his dad’s idea form from the very beginning. Cooper said that “The first time that I had Nalley fresh, I was heavily confused but at the same time I was amazed. The food is incredible once you find the combination that fits you perfectly.”

This is what Cooper said has led the chain to develop into eight separate locations across the Baltimore-Washington area so far. Cooper said that he “consider[s] Nalley Fresh to be quite successful, but it can be more successful. For Nalley Fresh to become more successful requires time and expansion.”

All of his points are true for any great business, needing some time to expand even further.

Cooper said that this expansion is a sure thing because he “believe[s] that [Nalley Fresh] is a healthy alternative to Chipotle and Qdoba” because “Nalley Fresh has [so] many options for the customer to bring out his inner chef.”

It is quite apparent that the options at Nalley Fresh are a healthier alternative to popular national chains like Qdoba and Chipotle but is the healthiness the only thing which draws people into Nalley Fresh?

According to senior Brett Blum,  “[Nalley Fresh] is a unique restaurant [with a] good atmosphere, good food, quality prices, and [a] good overall selection of food.”

This same belief is carried by senior Mitch Casper. He said that Nalley Fresh is a place “where you can eat [healthily] but still pig out at the same time; there’s a lot of different combinations at different times, so there’s way more variety than Chipotle.”

Overall, it seems that Nalley Fresh has really made a splash into the Baltimore food market. Coming into a place where there were limited healthy options to get food, Nalley Fresh has attracted quite a good bit of the community.

This is what makes it such a great place to go and get food with friends and family. You are given the opportunity to eat great food and see other people from the community and that is what excites Cooper so much.

He loves seeing “some of [his] closest friends and peers at Nalley Fresh.” This feeling is shared amongst a large part of the Baltimore community and is what makes Nalley Fresh a truly inviting atmosphere.

Nalley Fresh is a complete and utter hit. It is a great idea that has proven to be successful. Hopefully, Mr. Nalley will keep expanding the chain and making it even better than it is right now.

Craving Pizza? Here’s Where to go

Everyone faces the same problem when it comes to choosing what pizza to eat. When pizza comes to mind, I instantly think of three different places. Those pizza places include Papa John’s, Pepe’s, and Earth, Wood and Fire coal-fired cuisine.

Each restaurant has its own uniqueness that makes them special, whether it be the specialty pizzas, the sauce, or even the crust.

Earth, Wood and Fire is a smaller restaurant that serves high-quality, coal-fired pizza. Earth, Wood and Fire is located on Clarkview Rd and has a small yet luxurious feeling to it. Here you can get a large (14″) pizza for $15.00 or a personal (10″) pizza for $11.00 with each topping costing $2.00 each, according to the Earth, Wood and Fire website.

Aside from the average pepperoni pizza, at Earth, Wood and Fire, you can get a Pugliese which consists of olive oil, garlic chicken, caramelized onions, mozzarella, provolone, blue cheese and oregano. Another quality specialty pizza is the Scampi which consists of olive oil, roasted garlic, romano,  mozzarella, provolone and gulf shrimp, as stated on the Earth, Wood and Fire website.

Fellow senior Dylan Kowalski said, “YI have had Earth, Wood and Fire pizza. The way the chefs cook it adds a whole other flavor that creates a great combination of different flavors including the toppings, sauce, and cheese.” 

Another classic place to get pizza is Papa John’s. Papa John’s serves a high quality and delicious pizza in which you can get classics or even specialties such as Hawaiian Barbecue and John’s Favorite. Most people choose to get the pizza as carry out or choose the option of delivery to the front door of their home.

Papa John’s has very similar prices to Earth, Wood and Fire as the large pizza costs $15.60 and the small pizza costs $11.00 according to the Papa John’s website. Their pizza always has the perfect combination of cheese and sauce which will make your taste buds tingle every time!

Boys’ Latin math teacher Mr. Morrissey said, “YI have had Papa John’s pizza. You could dip anything in that Garlic Butter and make it taste good. I wish I had a cup of that for all of my meals. The quality of the pizza is irrelevant because the Garlic Butter is that good.” Papa John’s not only has quality pizza, but the owner has figured out how to make his customers enjoy the pizza a little bit more. 

The final pizza place to round off my top three is Pepe’s. Pepe’s is a classic restaurant with a happy environment that serves all types of foods and trains its chefs to make a wicked pie. At Pepe’s, you can get a large (16″) pizza for $11.95 with $2.00 for each additional topping or a medium (12″) pizza for $9.95 with $1.50 for each additional topping according to the Pepe’s website.

Pepe’s has some specialty pizzas which include the Buffalo Chicken pizza and the Cheese Steak pizza delight. Pepe’s pizza will leave a terrific and lasting smell on your clothes as well as grease dripping down your hand which will make you scramble for napkins.

Fellow Boys’ Latin student and freshman Sam Grace said, “I have had Pepe’s pizza and it was banging, especially the cheese and the crust.” 

Pizza is always good, but it is all about finding the one that has the distinct edge over all other restaurants. When I think of pizza, these three immediately come to mind. Each place brings something special to the table that makes them a great place to get and enjoy pizza.

Big Three Rule Tennis World in 2000s

Federer, Djokovic, Nadal 1

Throughout the 2000s, tennis has grown increasingly in popularity, which can be seen by the likes of a large number of American and international competitors entering the ATP, the Association of Tennis Professionals, Circuit.

I believe during this time period, some of tennis’s most talented competitors emerged. These players competed fiercely, refusing to ever give up.

In the early 2000s, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic saw the most success, winning a staggering combined 23 majors from 2000-2009. I think that these players dominated this time frame in tennis history and did so with elegance and grace.

According to tennisphilia.com, “From 2000-2009, Roger Federer won 15 majors, made six major finals, and spent 259 consecutive weeks ranked #1 in the world.  Rafael Nadal won six majors, made two finals, and spent 46 consecutive weeks ranked #1 in the world. Andre Agassi won three majors, made two major finals, and spent 32 consecutive weeks ranked #1 in the world.”

In addition to these players enjoying great success, there was also remarkable defeats at the hands of unworthy opponents, in my opinion. According to therichest.com, in 2005, Rafael Nadal outlasted Federer in the semi-finals to win the French Open. This was a big deal for Nadal as it was the first of nine French Open titles under his belt.

Tennis Hit a New Level in the Mid to Late 2000s

In the mid to late 2000s, Nadal and Djokovic attained the most accolades with Federer, my favorite player, adding to the success as well. These players dominated both the four majors of the year: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open, as well as the minor tournaments leading up to these majors.

As these players became known, the tennis community started to favor some players over one another. This was true of junior Logan McWilliams, who claims that his “favorite player is Roger Federer.” Junior Zach Grace decided against that decision and went with fellow American Andy Roddick as his preferred player of this decade.

Major upsets came up more often than major wins; “Rosol beats Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012. Stakhovsky beats Federer at Wimbledon in 2o12,” therichest.com stated. These are just a few instances, but at the time, they were utterly shocking to avid tennis fans.

Since the players were growing stronger and more physically fit over time, the equipment did so as well. The heads on the tennis racquets were increasing in size, which allows for a larger ‘sweet spot’ for players. This was good news as players were starting to hit harder and with more top spin, which minimizes the reaction time for the opponent.

Djokovic and Nadal might have been brute forces, but Federer’s immortality on the tennis court showed to be superior in my eyes. At 34, his winning mentality has not diminished. More than five years older than each of his competitors, Federer commands respect as he has won 17 major championships in his career, the most out of any male in the history of tennis.

Speaking for myself, the 2000s have been a tremendous decade for the international tennis community thus far. This time has brought both successes and failures, which ultimately defines this game of champions. Failures helped each of these professionals grow and proved to be vital in their pursuit of greatness.

BL-St. Paul’s Game Always Entertains

The Boys’ Latin – St. Paul’s basketball game is a historic rivalry. Although the atmosphere of these games is always exciting and entertaining, this year was unique because Boys’ Latin is in the A conference and St. Paul’s is in the B. In addition, this game brought spectators from all over to support cancer research.

Brandon Bradsher, a junior at BL, lead the Lakers to victory with 21 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Jaylin Andrews, a sophmore at BL, had 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Spencer Rees, a senior, went 40% from the three point line, tallied a total of 13 points, a block, and two rebounds.

For St. Paul’s, Zach Bare lead the team with 19 points, four rebounds, and one assist. His impressive 19 point game came as little surprise because he holds the all-time point record at St. Paul’s. A.J. Sawyers also lead the Crusaders to a loss with 17 points and two rebounds.

“The game meant a lot to me because it resembled not only my last basketball game I’ll ever play, but the last time my dad will be coaching me. It’s a fun game because it was for a great cause and the whole environment and energy surrounding the gym,” said Spencer Rees. 

Last year’s game brought more excitement to the board. Boys’ Latin lost to St. Paul’s in the regular season and got their revenge in the semi finals before taking home the B Conference championship. Boys’ Latin’s Dylan Kowalewski believes the competition of last year’s game was more intense as well.

“The level of play last year was something else. Patrick Spencer and Kodye Pugh were huge influences that we lost, and this year our size hurt us greatly, with our tallest player bing 6’3”,” said Kowalewski.

Jaylin Andrews, a sophmore who has been starting since his freshman year, loves the St. Paul’s game. “It’s a great game everytime we play SP; it’s a good environment, our fans are always into it and it makes the game fun,” said Andrews. 

“Everytime we play St. Paul’s we want to beat them. It’s another game on the schedule. When you hear your named called or screamed it’s jittery,” exclaimed Andrews.

The Lakers only graduate two seniors and return a lot of talent. Brandon Bradsher and Jaylin Andrews will lead the young Lakers next year, and the Lakers will continue to compete in the A conference. Kenny Lewis, a sophmore, will need to have a huge year, being the only returning big man.