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Morning Brief: Change In The NBA, A Renewed St. Patrick’s Day Party, And ‘The Black Beverly Hills’

Ryan Turell stands in the center of Yeshiva basketball player locked arm-in-arm.
Ryan Turell #11 of Yeshiva cheers with his team before playing against Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the first half during the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship in 2020.
(Patrick Smith
Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 18.

March Madness is upon us. And while the best teams in the country are fun to watch, it's the underdogs we revel in. They overcome odds and make history, giving little guys and longshots something to aspire to.

Two NCAA tiers down, in Divsion III, there’s another odds-beater who’s set to make history — Ryan Turell. The L.A. native could become the first Orthodox Jewish player in NBA history.

Turell, who is 6”7’, is currently the leading scorer in all of college basketball. Yesterday, he was named the DIII National Player of the Year. Earlier this week, he declared for the NBA draft.

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Before graduating from Valley Torah High School in the San Fernando Valley, Turell was recruited by several Division I powerhouses, reports my colleague Zoe Kurland. Instead, he chose to attend Yeshiva University in New York City, wanting to set an example for other Jewish children.

His father, Brad Turell, handles press for Ryan and said that his son told him: "I want to be a Jewish hero to kids who are going to look up to me, and show them that you can stay true to your religion and stay true to your convictions, and still fulfill all your potential in life, including athletically.

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Valley Torah High’s athletic director, Lior Schwartzberg, said that Turell could represent “another fabric of the American dream.”

He would be “another thread of representation that can go into other facets of life to see that this is what makes this country great,” said Schwartzberg. “You can do anything."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... How Baldwin Hills Became 'The Black Beverly Hills'

An aerial view shows a long road that splits down the middle of hillsides that have houses on the right and a walking trail surrounded by brush on the left. More houses are seen at the top of the bluff on the left side.
The Stocker Corridor trail runs through the View Park and Baldwin Hills neighborhoods.
(Chava Sanchez
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The rolling hills in South Los Angeles known as Baldwin Hills include wealthy and middle-class neighborhoods like Baldwin Hills Estates, Ladera Heights, Baldwin Vista, and View Park. They’ve been dubbed “The Black Beverly Hills” thanks to the efforts of affluent Black residents who made this neighborhood theirs starting in the 1920s.

Here’s the little-known history of the neighborhood.

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