EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 24, 2012

Saluting the Unsung Heroes of the Christmas Tourney

(Continued)

Paulino proudly notes he’s an honor roll student in Lawrence High’s school of business management and finance. He’s active with the Gear Up program in school.

Paulino, who answers to the nickname JP, is a fan of NBA 2K13, SportsCenter, Jay-Z, Fuddruckers and the song Public Service Announcement by Jay-Z.

Don’t tell Celtic fans, but Paulino roots for the Miami Heat and his favorite player is Dwyane Wade.

JAMAL RENE

Methuen High

Ranger Super Sub

Methuen coach Matt Curran likes to go to the bench for a player who can immediately contribute. That player has been this sophomore guard.

Don’t let his unusual basketball body fool you, the 5-11 (on a good day), 200-pounder can play.

“He brings high energy and a well-rounded game off the bench,” explained Curran. “He does the little things like take charges.”

Rene uses his strength to frustrate bigger players.

“I try to play smarter than them. I play strong. I play kids physically,” said Rene.

He admires another player who starred despite not passing the “look test.” That would be the former 5-foot-3 NBA standout Muggsy Bogues.

On Sundays, he’s a timekeeper for Methuen Youth Basketball.

A returning letterman in basketball, Rene is also a talented catcher who hopes to make varsity this spring.

After a big win, you might find him enjoying a cheese pizza at his favorite restaurant, Bada Bing Pizza and Wings in Methuen.

AARON STRAUS

North Andover High

Obvious Answer

It didn’t take North Andover coach Mike McVeigh long to decide on a worthy Unsung Hero.

“Aaron Straus immediately came to mind,” said McVeigh. “He is the quintessential team player. He’s in a daily battle for the eighth spot. He shows up every day with a smile on his face and a work ethic second to none. He’s respected as much as anybody on the team.”

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