Boeheim, Coach K on Christmas wish list
Dick VitaleSPECIAL TO ESPN.COM
Dec. 24, 2004
It's the time of year when Santa comes and we can enjoy happy holidays and a merry Christmas! 'Tis the season to be jolly, baby!
I recently went to the Lowery Park Zoo in Tampa, Fla., with my wife, children and grandchildren, along with my ESPN broadcast partner Dan Shulman and his son Matthew. The zoo had a spectacular Christmas show, with lights all over. It was fantastic, and the kids had a blast. I was like a little kid on the carousel and shared some wishes while I was out on the sleigh. It was a special time.
It's also a wonderful time to spread some holiday cheer to our basketball buddies and to ask Santa to bring them some special gifts...
Santa, please give the General, Robert Montgomery Knight, a successful recruiting season at Texas Tech so he has the kind of talent that puts his team in national-championship contention. Knight is a master at handling personnel. If the talent is equal, the W will come his way.
Santa, please let Michigan's injured players mend quickly for coach Tommy Amaker.
In Memphis, coach John Calipari needs some help from you, Santa. Calipari has a heart of gold and is willing to help those in need. Just ask the Jimmy V Foundation people, as he wrote a $50,000 check to join the President's Club. Please bring him a team that buys into and understands everything he is preaching. Let Sean Banks return to form as a super soph instead of being one of the major disappointments of the game. Let Banks understand how to play within the team framework.
Santa, let Rashad McCants buy into coach Roy Williams' system totally at North Carolina. Let him never waver, because if he does it will compromise his premier talent.
For Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and Bill Self of Kansas, Santa, please give them a map of our beautiful country. Help them to understand there is more to life than Syracuse, New York and Lawrence, Kansas. They can leave their respective states before January and enjoy some sunshine in California or Arizona before league play begins!
Santa, please let Michigan's injured players mend quickly for coach Tommy Amaker. Get them back in shape! Talk about a team having some tough luck in a year where they should be competing for an NCAA berth ... Amaker has lost three starters, including Daniel Horton and Lester Abram.
Please Santa, give Purdue coach Gene Keady a joyous send-off. He deserves better than his 3-5 start, so let the ball bounce his way the second half of the season. His heart and soul goes into the sport, every ounce of energy for the team. Keady has been so special.
Santa, let's get New Mexico State coach Lou Henson healthy and back to the sidelines for win No. 800, which should get him closer to the Hall of Fame — something he richly deserves.
Hey, Santa, get us more guys like Kentucky coach Tubby Smith. We need more of him, not only as coaches, but as people! Talk about a guy who does so much with his foundation, along with with his wife, Donna. Tubby never forgot where he came from and he helps those in need. It was tough for him growing up as a youngster, and he's one of the blue-chip PTPers in the coaching profession.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski just earned his 700th win at the age of 57. He deserves happiness and success, and the coaching landscape needs more of him too! Santa, I'm talking about his humanitarian actions, knowing what he does to help people, as an incredible ambassador for the Jimmy V Foundation. He is willing to reach in his pocket and give.
Finally, Santa, at this special time of year, let's wish for the best for all of our servicemen and servicewomen overseas as they try to keep us safe and happy. They are such special people, working so hard in difficult situations. God bless America and those fighting for the freedoms we have back here in the United States.
I wish everyone out there a happy and healthy holiday season and a great New Year!
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS. Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories