My Friday Five: On A Beautiful Story, Wassabi Merch & NBA Draft

1. A “Positive Contribution”

This is a cool story! 

Oxford University lent a historic violin to a budding musician living as a Syrian refugee. 14-year-old, Aboud Kaplo, was forced out of his home in Aleppo, Syria and now lives in Lebanon, according to the BBC. Filmmaker and former student of the Oxford music faculty, Susie Atwood, came across Aboud and his family while making a film about Syrian Christian refugees and not only noticed his passion for music but his lack of an instrument as well. The BBC noted that Aboud was teaching himself how to play by watching YouTube videos and practicing on a “‘rattly’ toy violin.” Atwood made a call and Oxford stepped right in, lending Aboud a restored, 19th Century German violin from its Bate Collection of Musical Instruments. The BBC quoted the curator of the collection, Andy Lamb, as saying he knew the collection could make a positive impact in Aboud’s life after finding out about his situation.

These are the kind of stories we need more of in the forefront of our news cycle. There are so many awful things going on in the world that a story like this is a breath of fresh air. It also proves, once again, that music truly can bring everyone together (Thanks to Twitter follower, @AnastasiosMav, for sharing this story)!

2. NBA Draft

The NBA Draft began Thursday night and there was plenty to be excited about! First off, my hometown team – the Charlotte Hornets – drafted Kentucky’s Malik Monk at No. 11. This is a huge get for the franchise, especially at the 11 spot. Monk is a proven scorer and just the guy we need to help out Kemba Walker. It’s wild that I talk about Monk in this way because, just a few months ago, I was rooting against him as his Wildcats played my Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament. We’ll just let bygones be bygones – especially since Carolina came out on top! 🙂

It was also a great night for N.C. State and UNC as both the Pack and Heels saw players drafted in the first round. State’s ACC Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith, Jr. went No. 9 overall to the Dallas Mavericks while Carolina’s ACC Player of the Year, Justin Jackson, and standout Freshman, Tony Bradley, went 15th (Portland then traded to Sacramento) and 28th overall (Utah) respectively. Congrats are also in order for Tar Heels/National Champs Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, who signed as free agents with Toronto and the L.A. Clippers, respectively.

And one more thing. It wouldn’t be the NBA Draft without some rivalry talk between UNC and Puke – I mean – Duke. I saw some people bragging on social media about Blue Devils’ players being drafted before Tar Heels players as if to prove some kind of point. Well, if we’re going down that road, how about this stat: With Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley being selected, the Heels now have 49 players drafted in the first round. The most of any other school. Also, Roy Williams has had 18 of his players at Carolina drafted in the first round. Of those, 11 are National Champions.

Thanks for playing, Duke fans. 

3. Wassabi Merch is Here!

You may recall me talking about my pal Alex Burriss – a.k.a. Alex Wassabi – and some new merch that he would be releasing. Well, it’s here and it’s awesome! I always like to support friends and people I know in their endeavors, so there was no question that I’d buy some Wassabi Merch! I got a shirt (pictured right) with Alex’s famous tag line, which he says at the end of each of his videos: “If you’re not smiling, you’re doing it wrong.” What a cool thing to have on a shirt, am I right? There are plenty of other items as well so be sure to get your Wassabi Merch at!

P.S. If you’d like to find out how I know Alex, you can read that here

4. Swimming & Diving Scholars

Quick shoutout to N.C. State Swimming and Diving for not only the incredible performance in the pool this season but also having 19 members recognized for outstanding academic achievement by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). Five members of the men’s team and four members of the women’s team were recognized as Individual Scholar All-Americans while an additional 10 members from the men’s and women’s team combined received Honorable Mention recognition. What’s more? Both the men’s and women’s teams were named Scholar All-America Teams, with the men’s team recording a 3.15 GPA for the spring semester and the women’s team an incredible 3.40 GPA.

Go Pack!

5. Amazing Magician

Tom London wowed the America’s Got Talent crowd with a simply mind blowing performance. Check it out below!

Thanks For Reading

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