- On one dunk, he (first-year Laker Christian Cornelius) drew a technical foul for hanging on the rim. "I was just trying to get the crowd into the game, to get them excited and let people know we have another good team in Erie besides Gannon," said the 6-foot 7-inch forward.
Second, do you think anyone in the crowd of 400 thought this when Cornelius was whistled for his T: "You know, in my mind the jury was out if Mercyhurst was good or not. But after seeing that guy hang on the rim, I now think they'll go 30-4 this year and host the regionals. You ready to go to the Cornerstone now?"
Most ludicrous of all is that Cornelius is thinking about Gannon already. It's only November 15th! The Knights and Lakers don't meet for nearly three months. Now, I'm not blaming the kid for what he said. John Wooden's motto was, "Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." Apparently Mercyhurst's motto is, "Success is doing better than Gannon." Again, I'm not blaming Cornelius for this attitude; he's only been on campus for about three months after transferring from Division I Southern Illinois. So how did he pick up a Gannon obsession so quickly?
The "just better than Gannon" attitude has been perpetuated on the Hill for decades now. Two examples from way back:
- When Andy Roth resigned as Mercyhurst women's soccer coach in 1989 after putting the Lakers on the national scene, one of his top accomplishments was "never losing to Gannon." At that time the Lady Knights were transitioning from a club team and were barely competitive with other scholarship schools.
- I attended a Mercyhurst basketball banquet a few years ago -- who was watching the door that night? -- and immediately after the emcee announced the teams, he alerted everyone in attendance the date of the Gannon at Mercyhurst game. "Mark it on your calendar," he said. Implied was, "Overlook the first 20 games on your schedule."
Cornelius should be excited for his next game, battling for the PSAC playoffs, and maybe an NCAA berth. But instead someone's filled his head that a local rivalry is more important than true success.