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UConn’s Shabazz Napier proud to be from Roxbury

By Michael Vega | Globe Staff   March 28, 2014

NEW YORK — Shabazz Napier says there is a distinction to where he is from and where the University of Connecticut senior guard was born and raised.

Every time he takes the court for the Huskies, as he will Friday night in a Sweet 16 matchup against Iowa State in the NCAA East Regional semifinals at Madison Square Garden, Napier makes certain he is announced from Roxbury, Mass., and not just Boston.

“I was born and raised in Roxbury,’’ Napier said. “It’s in the inner city of Boston and there’s definitely a pride in that. It’s the inner city and when you can come out of a place like that, all you can think of is, hope and blessings.’’

Boston’s inner city also gave him a swagger on the court that came from his rough-hewn background.

“At the end of the day, it depends on what path you choose and I chose the right path,’’ Napier said. “Not to say that I’m better than anybody else, but I just feel like I was blessed to be put in this situation where I knew what I was worth. That’s what’s lost in a lot of kids — they don’t understand what they’re worth.’’

While Napier might have been born Boston Strong, he forged a Roxbury toughness on the court, where his hardscrabble upbringing influenced his fearless approach to the game.

“It was just the way I was raised — by my mother [Carmen Velasquez] and by the community,’’ Napier said. “I was always raised to be tough. That’s what I feel like I show out there — my toughness. Whether it’s diving for a loose ball or never giving up on a play, that’s the toughness that you get — wherever you’re from — so that’s where everything I exert out on the court comes from.’’

FULL STORY HERE: http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/03/27/that-uconn-shabazz-napier-from-roxbury-mass/pE1CwHv41ANV7YvMZmp90I/story.html

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