Carroll: Mullin’ It Over

You have to wonder if St. John’s University had reached out to arguably its greatest player in history, Chris Mullin, to become its next basketball head coach while Steve Lavin was still in charge. It seemed just a little too convenient that Mullin accepted the job five days after Lavin was dismissed.

Red Storm fans shouldn’t be too concerned about Mullin’s lack of head coaching experience. Given his stellar NBA career and considerable experience as a pro basketball executive it should be a seamless transition for him.

One of the knocks on Steve Lavin was that he did not recruit in St. John’s own backyard and didn’t kill himself developing relationships with local area high school basketball coaches. Mullin, a product of Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School, should improve the Red Storm’s ability to lure local talent.

Fran Fraschilla, who coached the Red Storm for two seasons in the late 1990s and is currently an ESPN analyst, told me at the National Invitational Tournament media luncheon that he thinks that Lavin, who was an ESPN analyst before taking the St. John’s job five years ago, should take a year off from coaching and return to the TV ranks.

University of Miami basketball head coach Jim Larranaga reminisced about his days playing for Archbishop Molloy High School in the early 1960s at the NIT luncheon. “I lived in Parkchester and every day I took the Q44 bus from my house to Molloy. It was a 90-minute ride each way but it was worth it.”

The NIT is now being run by the NCAA whose headquarters are located in Indianapolis which was also the site of this year’s Final Four. Every NCAA official that I spoke with at the NIT media briefing, including many conservative retired basketball head coaches, went on the record to state that they were ticked off at Indiana Governor Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which appeared to give license for Hoosier businesses to discriminate against gay and transgendered individuals.

On Saturday ESPN debuted its latest “E:60″ documentary, “The Dark Knight Returns,” which was an hour-long profile of Mets ace Matt Harvey. Jeremy Schaap did a fine job interviewing Harvey and others including manager Terry Collins and Harvey’s agent, the inimitable Scott Boras.

Interestingly, both Mets CEO Fred Wilpon and his son, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, refused to appear on the show. My guess is that they did not want to get caught on camera answering questions about Harvey’s high profile off-the-field activities such as dating the hottest models, dining at the trendiest restaurants, as well as wearing threads from the toniest boutiques.

Harvey is entitled to enjoy the perks of being a star athlete in New York. I just wish that he would be more welcoming at his locker to those of us from smaller media outlets.

Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial has long been a race for the best three-year old thoroughbreds to prove themselves before the Kentucky Derby which is a month away. On Saturday afternoon Frosted used the outside part of the track to get by heavy favorites Daredevil and El Kabeir to win the Wood.

Track star Usain Bolt can rival NBA stars when it comes to endorsements. He is the spokesman for Puma’s IGNITE line of running shoes and his likeness lined the back wall of the Javits Center where Nissan set up their exhibition area for the New York International Auto Show which runs through Sunday.

As per tradition at the Auto Show, Toyota showed off its official Yankees bullpen car. Rolls-Royce displayed its latest Ghost model. Its rich leather interior smelled just like a brand new baseball glove.

Clark’s Desert Boot, a favorite for hikers, is celebrating its 65th birthday. The shoe was inspired by the footwear worn by the British soldiers who were fighting General Rommel’s German troops in North Africa during World War II.

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