Describe the characters Mtisha, Ice, and Derek from the book Slam!

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Mtisha is "something special".  She is beautiful, practical, and smart.  Mtisha is determined to go to college, like her father before her.  She is focused on her goals, and realistic about what it will take to achieve them.  She has told Slam not to fall in love with her, because she knows she will be going away.

Mtisha is a loyal friend.  She expects the best from those she loves, and is not afraid to hold them accountable to high standards.  It is she who first perceives that Ice is heading for trouble, and she steps up to ask Slam to intervene on behalf of their friend (Chapter 2).  Mtisha pushes Slam to apply himself in school so that he can be eligible for a basketball scholarship.  She offers to help him with his math, and does not coddle him when he has a hard time with the material.  Because she wants the best for him, Mtisha challenges Slam to go beyond his comfort level to achieve to the limits of his ability (Chapter 11).

Derek is nine years old, a lovable and often annoying little brother.  He looks up to Slam and wants to emulate him, in both filmmaking and basketball.  Derek talks a lot, and his mouth frequently gets him in trouble.  He also tends to be irresponsible and lacks street sense at times; he loses Slam's video camera because he leaves it with a friend while he goes into the market to get some cookies.  Like any little brother, Derek irritates Slam to no end, but Slam is patient with him.  Slam says "you can't be mad at (Derek) because he got this stupid grin that's crooked and when he flashe(s) that grin at you and you (start) grinning back you just (can't) hold on to being mad" (Chapter 1 and 11).

Ice is an exciting guy and an amazing basketball player, and he and Slam have been friends since they were in preschool.  He is cocky and flashy and likes expensive things - he drives up in an expensive Benz one day which he claims belongs to someone he knows, and he likes to dress in style.  Ice always seems to have a lot of money, and Mtisha thinks he might be dealing drugs, but Slam does not want to believe it.  When Slam broaches the subject with Ice, his friend smoothly denies that he is involved in illegal activities.  Ice is not a good friend.  He is indeed selling drugs, and seems to have no problem lying to his friends time and time again about what he is doing (Chapter 6 and 14).

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