With status come perks. As the other freshmen file by, on their way to mandatory softball in matching gray T-shirts and glum expressions, Nico and Mason coolly stare at their phones, adjust their ice bags and endeavor to talk about various topics with great authority. They use the word literally a lot, if incorrectly, and reserve ridiculous for the highest of compliments. Russell Westbrook averaging a triple double?
Other athletes stop by and join in. Here, in roughly descending order, are what Nico and his friends spend the most time discussing:.
Basketball prospects doing dope stuff. Which is where you can see other basketball prospects doing dope stuff, post college offers and check out girls. Who can bench-press the most.
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This is a furiously debated topic, both in literal and hypothetical terms. Spencer not only balls out; he is a talented quarterback with nearly a dozen scholarship offers, including Miami and Oklahoma. He is extremely legit. Coach Wilde. Less sleep means his brain has a harder time managing stress and, since growth hormone is released at night, the lack of sleep can even impact his height.
What sets Nico apart is that his life is a bizarre mixture of the stuff all teenagers go through—the pimples and insecurity and clanking front teeth on your first kiss—and the stuff very few teenagers go through. By sixth grade he was being written up by prep websites. He performed admirably. An impressive edifice of boxed basketball shoes rises on one side of his small, uncluttered bedroom. Silver is prone to texting Nico at 3 a. Hold the f door for your mother! Not incidentally, Silver is also a conduit to the shoe folks.
Who knows? First, though: college. Offer number two came last June, from Arizona State, when coach Bobby Hurley saw Nico at a summer camp and was transfixed. Now go back to the game. High-profile middle schoolers have been targeted for years, going back to , when Taylor King accepted an offer to UCLA before his first high school game. More recently, LeBron James Jr. The fact that all this happens does not make it right, much less beneficial in any way to the still-developing boys, only legally allowable. They can also mail letters, a stack of which Nico keeps in a shoebox.
Many are bizarrely written, on account of the myriad NCAA regulations governing recruiting. Go Utes. None of this strikes Nico as weird, for this is the only world he knows. You have to earn it, Pace said. For every kid who meets the loftiest expectations, countless others fall short.
As for Pace and Gaia, they rely on their own experiences.
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In , divorced from his first wife, with whom he has two kids, he met Gaia. He was 35 and a star. She was 21 and a firebrand. Always, he told him to be aggressive and drive to score, not to pass. At first, this seemed a bit ludicrous, as Nico was always the smallest kid, drowning in his jersey. Meanwhile, Gaia, a personal trainer and cooking instructor, drops the hammer when necessary. Good nutrition is similarly enforced. Dessert at home is rare. Chores are not optional. Gaia does not entertain excuses. He is fortunate in many respects, blessed with an enviable genetic and socioeconomic situation.
This makes him different from many of the other year-old sorta-maybe prodigies. Both Pace and Gaia have already achieved their own athletic dreams, so they are not living through their child. His most indelible memory, from when he was nine, is Kobe Bryant kneeling down and speaking Italian to him.
Like most of his friends in this era of youth sports specialization, Nico plays only basketball. He hated baseball. Asked about his hobbies outside hoops, he thinks for a bit. Finally, he mentions fishing. Yes, he sorta likes to fish. Future careers, non-NBA division?
None come to mind. Favorite subject? Math, I guess. Asked what portion of his life is devoted to playing basketball, or thinking about basketball, or watching basketball, he pauses, calculates. A lot. This focus is multiplied by the inherent tunnel vision that comes with being a teenager, so that when he is talking with someone—say, for example, a visiting writer from California—Nico is both shocked and embarrassed for said writer if he does not recognize the name of this or that 9th grade prospect, or the acronym of a big youth summer camp.
Considering the Pioneers combine a lack of size with a lack of experience, they are surprisingly good. Wilde employs a three-guard attack behind one upperclassman Mason , three sophomores and Nico, who is only the second freshman ever to start on varsity. The first, Trent Brown, is now a sophomore. Gathered around a high-top table, in matching warm-up gear, the boys discuss a wide range of topics—girls, other dope prospects, the fact that Mason has no chest—then bring up hecklers.
You want to play with a bunch of students with their shirts off? One riser over sit the team parents, in a diamond-shaped cluster, looking serious. Three film the game; one live-streams it. Pace and Gaia sit in portable chairs, stomping and cheering and exhorting. If Nico could hear his parents above the din during the game, this is what he would hear:.
Soldier Drawing For Kid
On the court Nico is a blur, attacking and sprinting and firing footers off the dribble. In the first quarter Nico has two holy crap! Still, Pinnacle blows an early lead and is losing at the half. Wilde, a compact, gap-toothed man who looks as if he might wrestle you at any moment, throws a clipboard in the locker room, lamenting the mental errors. Despite a late rally, Pinnacle loses by three.
Still, they want to set limits.
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An hour later, picking at grilled cheese and drinking a strawberry lemonade, Nico remains despondent over the loss and his play. He did not shoot like Steph tonight. Just think of how many more games await in his life. Nico looks up. He does not appear reassured. Wilde has spent two days preparing the boys: film at lunch, more film at practice. The starters huddle in the rear. The normal banter—whether J. This week some freshman got in a scrap at a skate park and then—so the boys heard—threatened on Twitter to shoot up the school on Friday.
And today is Thursday. Go to school? No way, bro! Straight up! No one knows what to think. Is it a real threat, a sign of these messed-up times? By the end of the bus ride they reach consensus: Trent will talk to Coach Wilde before the game. Also: Most of the team will be skipping school tomorrow. While the JV plays, Wilde stands in the linoleum-tiled anteroom, forcing down a pretzel and nachos, purchased at the student-run concessions stand. Still, times have changed. For most teenagers, a coach is an authority figure who controls your life because he controls your PT.
He may be a mentor, or a bastard, but you did what he said because you had no choice. Just by coming to Pinnacle, Nico brings other talented players, attention, and that Under Armour deal. If his dad wants to suggest a play, to get Nico or Trent a good look, Wilde is wise to listen.
I ask them to describe Nico. Thirty minutes later, Ryan Silver walks in, fresh off a flight from L. He is nervous energy in human form. Silver sits in the bleachers, leg tapping, watching Nico. He continues. He can grow. The other kids on the Earl Watson team are all jealous of him. The USC coach arrives just before tip-off and sits in the first row, near the door. Nico starts slowly. Finally, late in the first quarter, he scores on a tough pull-up from the baseline.
Two minutes later he comes out, gassed. Bland tremendous Coach primed to be HC soon. Silver looks at me. We wait. Thirty seconds pass. A minute. An eyeballs emoji from an Arizona coach.
Soldier Drawing For Kid
By Nellie Andreeva. That was probably the reaction of every Jane the Virgin fan watching the Season 4 finale after the final scene. Side note, Brett Dier, who played Michael on the show and made a cameo tonight, is starring in a CBS comedy pilot, History of Them , and would not be available full-time should the pilot goes to series but is expected to do multiple episodes of Jane in Season 5.
Up until that crazy turn of events, Jane followed closely its established finale formula. There was a Villanueva woman wedding Alba and Jorge vs. Xo and Rogelio last year and Jane and Michal the year before. The mystery, illustrated by JRShotWho? Everybody in Jane is motivated in some way or another by their heart and Rose has told Luisa and has told the audience that theirs is the greatest love story ever told and she really gave up that information to find her.
Was it inspired by the big fan reaction to his death? It really has to do with the telenovela aspect of our story that I thought it was best for. Jane and Rafael have been in a great place. How will the re introduction of this character shake up their relationship? She will end up with someone and I hope it will be an exciting development. We knew what would happen and then we had named her Jane, and then her nickname was JR, and from there obviously the light bulb started to stay on as we got into the finale.
Obviously it was somebody …. Can you confirm that? What will be the theme of Season 5? The words she typed on her bed were the words that began our pilot. Where is Jane going to end up?