NFL draft day found Willie Wilson in New York with baseball's K.C. Royals, and the Associated Press remarked that if the erstwhile Summit, N.J., prep football flash had gone on to play with Maryland after signing a letter of intent, he might have gotten rich as a No. 1 pro football draft pick. As is, he makes about $25,000 as a No. 1 baseball pick (June, 1974) who made it to the majors in 3 1/2 years - but has bright prospects of making it big.
Wilson recalled how he narrowed 200-odd offers to play college football to Maryland and Michigan - "but Maryland was always number one . . . nice and closer to home." Then he "decided there was too much contact in football, and baseball was better for me."
Terp. Coach Jerry Claiborne volunteered, "I think he could have made more today in bonus money than he did from baseball. With his speed and height and great hands, every time he got the ball he was a threat to score. He was that type of exciting runner - a game-breaker. Don't think I haven't thought about him many times in the last four years" . . .
This year, according to Joe Terranova, ace college recruiting canvasser when he isn't automotive market researching in Dearborn, Mich., Maryland "recruited best in the ACc and is ranked among the nation's second 10" in quality of incoming freshamn football talent. Last year, Terranova's recruiting top 10 found UCLA No. 1; this year he keeps the laurels in Los Angeles: USC No. 1; followed by (2) Texas (3) Tennessee, (4) Penn state, (5) Michigan, (6) Notre Dame, (7) Stanford, (8) UCLA, (9) Ohio State - or them as has get, until, surprise! SMU rates 10th . . .
Leaving L.A., though, is Ron Cuccia, whose stats at Wilson High amounted to 8,804 yards passing (91 TDs), 11,451 yards total offense in leading the team coached by his father, Vic Cuccia, to a 39-0 record for three years. Young Cuccia is only 5-9, 160 pounds so will take those probably national records to - Harvard! . . .
In basketball, Virginia Tech has landed Jeff Schneider, who averaged upward of 30 points a game his last two years at Washington Irving High, Clarksburg, W.Va. - and rumors are it's a package deal, another of those increasingly frequent coach goes with star. VIP isn't vehemently dening that Schneider's coach - his dad, Robert Schneider - may become a member of Hokie Coach Charlie Mor's staff . . .
Fans who watched Bullets-76ers on CBS Sunday know via Brent Musburger that Bullet publicist Marc Splaver is badc in GW Hospital - more chemotherapy. This should cheer him:
This week's Sports Illustrated cover person: EEEEEE! With caption, "NBA Playoffs - Elvin Hayes Leads a Bullet Barrage." Hayes vs. Jinx, the ultimate test?
Shortstop Robin Yount is coming back from disability (z) and disenchantment to "help the Milwaukee Brewers win some ball games." Guess the pro gold circuit, which Yount had talked to giving a fling, will have to wait -
Roberto de Vicenzo, 55, is ticked, as are his old-guard pals, over being turned down when he applied to follow up his Legends of Golf appearance in Austin by playing in this week's Byron Nelson Classic at Dallas.
Ah, so the threatened lifetime exemption shakeout has begun - "I won the Dallas tournament in 1966," sighed de Vicenzo.
Gary Player is miffed, on the other hand, because he obtained the recouldn't get the Atlanta Classic sponsors to release him from that May 25-28 event. That prevents him from playing in the British PGA, sponsored by a company with which Player has a major contract. "I'm playing in 10 consecutive American tournaments," he said. "How many American players play that many in a row?"
Not Jack Nicklaus - and would you believe Deane Beman suggested it'd be better if Nicklaus didn't play in the May 18-21 Memorial Tournament? That's a Muirfield Village, the course Nicklaus designed and meticulously oversees on frequent trips to his old home territory in central Ohio, where the folks would be mighty disappointed if he didn't play. The Golden Bear won the Memorail last year, and says the commissioner "thought it might cause problems bringing players in" if he defended the title. No such thing, everybody's coming, Nicklaus noted.