North Miami Beach’s Orli Algranatti (Scheck Hillel Community School), Lake Worth’s Walter Brinkley Jr. (Heritage Elementary School), Miami’s Jackson Mansfield (Gulliver Prep), Lauderhill’s Julian A. McQuirter (Parkway Middle School), and Miami Shores’ Zoe Meltz (St. Rose of Lima Middle School) were the January Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player honorees via the three-time world champion Miami Heat in partnership with Gatorade and The Miami Herald.
Miami Heat players Wayne Ellington, Udonis Haslem and Willie Reed congratulated these standout student athletes during shoot-around on Jan. 19 as the Heat prepared to face the Dallas Mavericks at the AmericanAirlines Arena. They were later recognized in a ceremony at mid-court before tip-off.
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About the honorees
Orli Algranatti, 14, of North Miami Beach is a freshman at Scheck Hillel Community School. She is a member of the school’s varsity girls’ basketball team and carries a 4.3 GPA. Last year as an eighth grader, she was moved up to varsity basketball, after middle school basketball season ended. A multi-talented student athlete, she also plays varsity volleyball and varsity tennis.
Walter Brinkley Jr., 9, of Lake Worth is a fourth grader at Heritage Elementary School. He is an excellent basketball player, who has loved the sport since he was a baby. He actually started dribbling a ball at age 2. Off the court, Walter was recently presented with a Certificate of Achievement from Florida Governor Rick Scot for attaining a perfect score on his FSA Mathematics. He is an excellent student and is well behaved. He also competes for the Wellington Wolves Basketball Organization and has played in numerous recreational programs.
Jackson Mansfield, 11, of Miami is a fifth grader at Gulliver Prep. As the starting point guard for the 4th/5th Grade Gulliver Raider Elite basketball team, he lead the team to a 7-1 start. With five As and three Bs in the first quarter, he is proving to also be a good student. Away from school, he is a member of the Miami City Ballers AAU program.
Julian McQuirter, 13, of Lauderhill is a seventh grader at Parkway Middle School of the Arts. He is enrolled in the Center for Intellectually Talented Youth (C.I.T.Y) program, Broward County’s only middle school gifted cluster. Even with his advanced schedule, Julian has a 4.0 GPA. On the court, he plays for the South Florida Youth Basketball League of Davie. He is the starting center for the Heat. Last year, he was the last sixth grader cut from the Parkway Middle School boys’ basketball team. He asked to continue practicing with the team and became the team manager. He said he wanted to learn the plays and advance his skills.
Zoe Meltz, 13, of Miami Shores is an eighth grader at St. Rose of Lima Middle School. She not only achieved straight As but was selected to the National Junior Honor Society. On the court, she averaged more than 18 points per game as captain of the school’s girls’ varsity basketball team which finished the regular season undefeated at 10-0 in the All Catholic Conference North Division.
Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, 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 shows improvement in the classroom.
Each honoree received a certificate of achievement, a Heat gift pack, a Heat T-shirt, and two Heat tickets.
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