The Pendleton Panther

Archive for the ‘Seniors '09’ Category

IMG Baseball

For those of you that were here last year, you might remember the likes of; L.J. Mazzilli, Quinn Pippin, Adam Zabel, John Ryan Murphy and Jack Daru to name a few. After battling out their senior season here at IMG, they were ready to graduate and move on to the college and professional rankings. John Ryan Murphy as many know, was drafted in the second round of the 2009 MLB draft and is having a very successful season in the Yankee’s organization. In my opinion the second most talent player to come out of last years graduating class was shortstop L.J. Mazzilli. Mazzilli is currently starting at the University of Connecticut as is hitting an impressive .290 and recorded his first home run of the year last week. During the summer, Mazzilli will continue his playing career in the Cape Cod League, a very talented league for amateur players. Quinn Pippin and Adam Zabel both are playing at Tulane University. Adam has started a majority of the games this year and Quinn is beginning to get playing time as the year goes on. Last but not least is catcher Jack Daru who is attending St. Leo’s University right here in Florida. Jack is splitting time behind the plate and has already hit a few home runs on the year. IMG alumni are doing very well at the next level. Look for many of these names to be called in the MLB draft within the next few years. All of these ballplayers are sincerely missed on campus and the ballpark, but we know they are doing all they can to be successful out in the real world.



Editorial Staff 2008-2009 John, Hannah, Sally, Megan, Lauren, Dirk, Xeniya, Justin, Shaaz (not pictured - Tyler, Jana)

gerardoGerardo Alvarez was born and raised in El Salvador. As he grew up so did his passion for golf. He came to IMG at the age of 14 and attended Pendleton school regularly. Although English is his second language he speaks it pretty well. He attended the David Leadbetter Golf Academy for 4 years with aspirations of becoming a phenomenal golfer.  I think the combination of passion and great coaching, led Gerardo to become one of the longest hitters of the academy. With the help of Mr. Blaweiss he achieved his main goal this year to become a TCU student. I’m sure he looks back at his senior year as a success.

namNam is a very happy person and his relaxed attitude helps him tremendously on the golf course.  His favorite player is Tiger Woods because he has the ability to win whenever, whenever, and maintain a cool calm and collect golfing attitude.  He is also a fan of basketball player Kobe Bryant because he “balls hard” and is a great athlete: consistent, overly confident and cocky.  Nam loves golf because it’s such a mentally strengthening game and it trains you to make decision.  Plus it’s a four-and-a-half hour long mental battle and anything can happen throughout the round .  Nam uses Bob Marley’s wise words “Keep on keepin’ on”  to stay motivated and determined when faced with challenges.

j to the rizzoJordan is an amazing golfer who takes life very seriously.  He is smart, dedicated and loyal.  He is inspired by Casey Wittenberg – a junior phenom who never took off like people thought he would. “He stuck it out through bad golf, low confidence, low money, and missed cuts, he kept working hard, he believed and persevered and now he is on the PGA tour.  Steve Stricker- he went from mini tour to mini tour and finally made it to the PGA tour but family life took precedent over his golf. But he practiced in the snow all winter and went on to win one of the biggest tournament on the PGA tour the next season, true perseverance and belief.”  He is also a big fan of the ever popular Tiger Woods because “no matter what he is focused on winning, everyday he wakes up and wants to do it better than everyone else, from his workouts at 5:30 am to his 8 hour practice days he has a focus and determination like no one else on the planet.” Jordan says that golf is the hardest sport he’s ever played. “It is a 4 and 1/2 hour mental grind. Every shot you hit has to be planned to include wind, slope, length and direction. It makes you smart and keeps you humble because the second you think you have it figured out it kicks you in the nuts but I love it.”  Jordan’s favorite quote that helps him to get the most out of life is: “the person who has lived the most is not the one with the most years but rather the one with the richest experiences”-Jean Jaques Rossau.  Jordan plans to attend West Florida University next year and continue playing golf.

alexA first year Pendleton student, Alex made the move to come to Florida from little known Pocatello, Idaho. He was selected first team all-state as a junior and was not getting the recruiting looks he wanted. Moving to IMG would give him better exposure playing against higher competition. Alex did well this season, averaging about 15 points(second on the team behind Arizona bound Kyryl Natyazhko). He plans to attend Westminster College in the fall. The senior explains his decision, ” I’ve lived in Salt Lake City for most of my life, so it will be nice to go back to my roots. Westminster is a great academic school, one of the best in the West, and has a winning basketball program.” Drecksel says he will miss his coaches and teammates, and will always remember the experiences he had at IMG. He added one more incite, “2010 NBA champions… Utah Jazz.”

nnamdiNnamdi Ekezie, a Baltimore native, was always one of the leaders on the National team. Loved by everyone, Nnamdi was a friend to everybody. A valuble member of the team, Ekezie really developed this season coming off of a knee injury last summer. An athletic shooting/combo guard Ekezie worked hard on his ball handling and decision making this season, really improving in both areas. Ekezie comes from a basketball family, having one brother who played for University of Maryland, and in the NBA. Nnamdi plans to follow his older brother’s foot steps, pursuing a spot on the team at the University of Maryland. As a close friend of Nnamdi, I can really say everyone who ever knew this kid will truly miss him.


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