Marcus watched enviously as his friend Tyler leapt high in the air and released the ball. It arched gracefully upward and then dropped effortlessly through the hoop.
"Nothin' but net!" shouted Tyler gleefully as he ran to get the ball. "I can hardly wait to get to high school. It won't take the college scouts long to hear about me! They'll be positively drooling to get my signature on the dotted line."
"Don't break your arm, Tyler," said Marcus. He admired his friend, but his ego had been growing by leaps and bounds, showing no signs of stopping.
"Huh? My arm? Oh, you mean patting myself on the back? You're a real joker, Marcus," his friend replied. "You just wish you could be a superstar like me."
"You been studying for that big English test tomorrow?" asked Marcus, changing the subject.
"Naw," said Tyler. "I have better things to do. I have to practice my game all the time if I want to be a pro someday. You know what they say about practice makes perfect."
"What happens if you get injured and can't play?" asked Marcus. "A lot of guys with talent never make it. Shouldn't you be prepared just in case? You know, have a backup plan?"
"You worry too much, Marcus," said Tyler. "Having a backup plan is just planning to be a loser. I have my whole life ahead of me. Going to school is just a way of wasting my time until I'm old enough to go pro."Paragraphs 9 to 17:
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