Pop Pop knocks uncle out of the ring everyday

Colleges recruit pedigree over legacy
March 25, 2022

The Leaf - Sportswriter Dick Dougherty called Our Lady of Grace grammar school basketball player Richie Cornwall “The Leaf,” a lightweight who just blew by people before the invention of the leaf blower. Richie played at Neshaminy High, then Syracuse where he was known as the Little General and ran the backcourt with Jim Boeheim and Dave Bing, playing point guard from 1965-68. Monday night, I was watching a women's game featuring Villanova at Michigan. The announcer mentioned that Wildcat junior Brooke Mullin’s uncle was Chris Mullin, who played in the NBA for 16 years. My synapses snapped, “That’s Richie Cornwall’s granddaughter who married Chris’ brother John Mullin,” I shouted into the great room where Susan reacted, “Oh no, here he goes!” Richie’s first cousin is retired Delaware State Police Col. Tom MacLeish. I knew Brooke Mullin’s great grandparents, Tom and Rita. It would be like if one of my granddaughters was married and had a famous brother-in-law knocking me out of the story. Richie had a career free throw percentage of 88 percent, a record that stood at Syracuse for 40 years. He passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 74.

Bella Runyan - Bella also plays basketball for Villanova, her dad in Jon Runyan who played for Titans, Eagles and Chargers ... and here we go. My nephew Mike was John’s teammate on the Titans, and I shared an elevator with Bella’s grandmother at the 2000 Super Bowl. Bella’s brother Jon Jr. is a starting guard for the Green Bay Packers. Bella played high school sports for Moorestown Friends, was a thousand-point scorer in basketball and scored 100 goals in lacrosse, but her best sport was soccer. Major college sports programs factor in pedigree over legacy in their recruiting philosophy. 

Team Delaware wrestling - It’s like the all-star game for senior grapplers. Delaware wrestled a team from southeast Pennsylvania Monday night at Saint Mark’s. Delaware won, but no team score was available. Cape sent Mikey Frederick, Carson Kammerer, Dalton Deevey and Lucas Ruppert. They had fun, but who cares, we want some raw data, scores and bios. What’s the fun in beating someone if you don’t know where they went to high school? I have never been a fan of post-season all-star games, which is why I rarely cover them. 

Big bump - No, I’m not talking about Minnesota Vikings long-suffering fan Duane Harmon. I’m talking about a “big bump” in college applications, especially international students who are not called foreign anymore. The only Foreigner is a band from the ’70s with a bunch of philosophy majors who “want to know what love is.” But all seriousness aside, the spike reflects  students who apply to double-digit colleges even though they can only attend one. Somehow the big bump is about bragging. I remember when I got accepted to Dartmouth, I didn’t go around town bragging about it ... mostly because it wasn’t true. 

Mystifying legends - I’m being honest. Coming out of high school, I was recruited to Villanova basketball by coach Jack Kraft and to St. Joe’s by Jack Ramsey. We were good to go until they saw my actual grades. I remember Ramsey asking, “Just exactly what were you doing?” And I answered, “Looking for my next joke.” And he said, “I’d love to hear some of them.” To quote the Bee Gees, “I just didn’t see the joke was on me.” 

Snippets - I have a University of Virginia No. 22 Jake Gelof bright orange baseball jersey size 3X. It was a birthday present from Kelly and Adam, so thanks, but I look like a Sumo tangerine or a mutating Mandarin. Jake leads the nation in home runs with 12 in 20 games. Pete Incaviglia has the college record of 100 when playing for Oklahoma State. After retirement from MLB, Incaviglia managed the Laredo Lemurs, Grand Prairie Air Hogs and Sugar Land Skeeters. Go on now, git! 


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