Daniella Aronsky (Hochberg Preparatory School), Cristian Estrada (Zora Neale Hurston Elementary School), Mick Lynott (Miami Country Day School), Anthony Marrero (Somerset Academy Gables) and Matthew White (The Roig Academy) were honored as the Miami Heat/Miami Herald March Academic/Sportsmanship Team Players before the Heat game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
The three-time world champion Miami Heat -- in partnership with Gatorade and in conjunction with The Miami Herald -- sponsors the Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player program in Sunday’s youth sports pages in the Neighbors Sunday print section of the Miami Herald and online at MiamiHerald.com/sports/youth/miami_dade.
Youth league coaches, team representatives, teachers or family members nominated South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball players from fall, winter, spring or summer seasons who display sportsmanship and good grades or show improvement in the classroom.
Each honoree received a certificate of achievement, a Heat gift pack and two Heat tickets. After meeting Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and center Greg Oden, they were recognized on the court with Burnie the Heat mascot before tip-off.
About the March honorees
Hollywood’s Daniella Aronsky, a fifth grader at Hochberg Preparatory School in North Miami Beach, was the starting point guard on the middle school girls’ basketball team as well as captain and star of the school’s 4th-5th grade soccer and basketball teams.
Daniella led the 4th-5th grade basketball team to consecutive undefeated championship seasons. She was MVP of the 4th-5th grade basketball and soccer teams. A Physical Fitness award winner, she holds the school record (2nd-8th grade boys and girls) in the shuttle run.
With the Prime Time Sports travel basketball team for the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, she was a two-time All Tournament selection and the 2014 Slamfest Tournament MVP.
As a 9-year-old, Daniella played up for the Michael-Ann Russell JCC U11 travel soccer team. In the recent Aventura Youth Rec Soccer League, Daniella again played up and led her U11 team to the league championship. She was named MVP.
Also a leader in school, Daniella, who earns Straight As, was chosen for the Duke TIP program. She was elected a fifth grade student council representative.
Miami’s Cristian Estrada, a fifth grader at Zora Neale Hurston Elementary School in Miami, has always done well in school. A standout student athlete, he displays a positive attitude and respectful disposition.
Cristian has been playing in the All Stars Kids Sports Basketball League six consecutive seasons and is now playing up in the 10-12 Advanced Division. During the summer, he earned Best All Around Player in his age group at the Tamiami Basketball Summer Camp.
In school, Cristian made the Honor Roll and won several Field Day awards. Away from the classroom and court, he participates in Scouting, currently ranked Webelo 1. He likes to go paddle boarding and saltwater fishing.
What he enjoys most is play basketball and watching the Miami Heat. His favorite player is LeBron James, and his ultimate goal is to work hard and make the NBA.
Biscayne Park’s Mick Lynott, an eighth grader at Miami Country Day School in North Miami, played on the MCDS high school boys’ varsity basketball team that went 20-7.
Taking Honors courses, Mick made the Head Master’s list both quarters at MCDS. Pirior, at the Cushman School, he was a member of the National Junior Honor Society, and he made the Head Master’s List every quarter. He was invited to DUKE TIPS as a result of his standardized testing scores.
In fifth grade, he became the starting point guard for the Cushman Middle School varsity basketball team which consisted of eighth grade starters. He led the team to a 17-3 record, and he was the first fifth grader in school history to not only play on the middle school varsity team but to start every game. In three years, Mick led the Cougars to a 46-14 record. He earned the Coaches award, recognizing his three years of varsity service (fifth-seventh grade).
Mick was also a member of Cushman’s Middle School varsity track, cross-country and tennis teams.
Mick transferred to Miami Country Day School in 2013. He was the only eighth grader on the MCDS varsity basketball team, playing point guard. He earned significant playing time as the season progressed and particularly at the end of the season for the district playoffs. He was named MCDS Middle School Athlete of the Week for his play in district playoff games against Doctor’s Charter and International School of Broward where he scored 12 points and had eight assists.
Playing up again, Mick is now a member of EYB FLIGHT, a Division I (11th grade) AAU basketball team.
Off the court, Mick is a model with Triton Modeling Agency and has been booked for several print ads for various European companies. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing Xbox’s NBA 2k14.
Miami’s Anthony M. Marrero, a first grader at Somerset Academy Gables in Coral Gables, earned straight A's in the Gifted Program (A1A for top scores in academics, effort and conduct). He received the Academy Achievement Award for his class last year. He also received subject awards in Mathematics, Language Arts, Spanish, Physical Education, Art and Social Studies.
Anthony is involved in the school’s Lego Club, Mind Lab and Krav Maga Martial Arts, where he is an Orange belt, training for his Green belt. He also participates in the school's Soccer Shots Program.
Anthony attended the University of Miami Basketball Camp in the summer. He was also a receiver and defensive back for the Seahawks of the South Miami Flag Football League at Palmer Park.
Anthony played forward/striker on the Galaxy U8 team of the South Miami Grey Ghosts Soccer League. Though he was 5-years-old in a under-8 division, he led the team in goals. Now 6-years-old, he topped them in goals again. Competing against even older players, he also led his under-10 team in goals.
During the summer, he participated in the Juventus Soccer Schools Summer Camp in Brickell. He was invited by the Juventus coaches to join their competitive U8 travel soccer team, where he currently plays forward/striker.
Pinecrest’s Matthew White, a fourth grader at The Roig Academy in Miami, has been working hard at school and brought his grades up to a 3.75 grade point average. He is doing well in math and has improved his reading comprehension, earning a 3.5 GPA for the first semester of this school year.
Matthew plays three times a week in the Montes Basketball Academy Program at Westminster Christian School in Palmetto Bay. He earned achievement points, moving up from the Apprentice League to the Up-And-Comers.
He practices his shooting and dribbling daily before and after school. Prior to playing at Montes Basketball Academy, he learned basic schools at Temple Beth Am’s After School Basketball Program. He is an avid Heat fan, and his favorite player is Dwyane Wade. He has attended many summer basketball camps including some hosted by Mario Chalmers and Wade.
When not in school or on the basketball court, Matthew enjoys riding horses and playing soccer. He never misses watching a Miami Heat game. He enjoyed a trip to the NBA Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. in the fall and shot hoops on the court for hours.
Special thanks to Miami Heat Community Affairs Coordinator Leon Bichachi for his standout efforts with the program as well as Ralph Leon, director of Miami Heat Community Affairs; Erick Torres, program manager of Miami Heat Community Affairs; and Steve Stowe, executive director of the Miami Heat Charitable Fund.
YouTube video of Miami Heat/Miami Herald Honorees for March
Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)