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Penn Recruits Five-Star Spikeball Prospect


Photo: Seth Fein, Elvert Barnes / CC BY-SA 2.0 (with edits)

For the first time since the 1800s, probably, Penn has recruited a five-star prospect. No, it’s not for football or basketball, but for the biggest sport on Penn’s campus: spikeball.

Local Philadelphia high schooler Craig Daum has impressed many scouts across the country with his stellar play and raw ability. Now, he will have a chance to prove himself on the biggest stages imaginable, which include that little grassy area outside of Harrison in addition to the grass outside of NCHW.

Although Ivy League schools typically do not give out scholarships to athletes, Daum became the rare exception to the rule, as University officials, including Penn spikeball head coach Chuck McPoyle, are prepared to pay him a whopping seven figures to stay in Philly.

“You know, obviously, seven figures is a lot, but when you have a talent like Daum, it’s hard not to justify paying the big bucks,” McPoyle said. “This kid’s a four-tool prospect. He can hit, he can pass, he can defend, and he can politely ask people walking by if they wouldn’t mind being a fourth in his game. He’s got what it takes.”

When asked what drove him to commit to Penn over his numerous other suitors, Daum referenced the culture around spikeball at the school that would make him a star on campus.

“Columbia was willing to pay me eight figures, but I thought that Penn would give me the best chance to become the superstar spikeball player I’ve always dreamed of becoming,” Daum said. “If I really put my mind to it, I think I can make it to the big leagues.”

By “big leagues,” Daum refers of course to Rittenhouse Square and even Lincoln Financial Field (outside of it where the tailgates are). If he can get there, the upstart prospect may even make it onto ESPN+/-, where the content includes spikeball, professional Uno, and semi-professional charades.

Although Daum realizes the position his outsized role gives him on campus (Noah Schnapp-level famous, but also unathletic), the 17-year-old is hopeful that people will be able to play it cool around him when they see him in public.

“I know everyone wants to get a selfie or make a TikTok while I do my legendary catchphrase (‘that’s pocket!’), but I’d urge everyone to please just treat me like you would anyone else,” Daum said. “I’m a student just like you, and even though I might have a sponsorship deal with Axis Pizza, that doesn’t mean you should act like I’m a deity or something.”

If you want to catch Daum in his final games before arriving at Penn, head to the middle school playground behind an alleyway in Center City and prepare yourself for greatness.