Commentary

Handing out Christmas gifts

Updated: December 23, 2013, 1:20 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

What is Santa Claus going to bring this season? Have players, coaches and fans been naughty or nice?

It is time to look at stocking stuffers for Christmas, and here's my holiday wish list:

Santa, please limit the Cupcake City games. Get rid of some of those bargain-basement goodies and give us some more regional rivalries. How about Wichita State-Kansas and Georgetown-Maryland to keep the fans happy?

[+] EnlargeColorado Buffaloes fan dressed as Santa Clause
Jeff Bottari/Getty ImagesSanta has been good to Colorado, as the Buffaloes are off to 10-1 start and a Top-25 ranking.

I would love a gift of a sixth personal foul in college games. That would allow the stars to stay on the court longer, especially if they get a second foul in the first half of a contest.

Mr. Claus, can we tell the diaper dandies that there is nothing wrong with what Marcus Smart did when he returned to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season? One-and-done doesn't have to be for everybody. Let some of these kids enjoy their collegiate experience as BMOC (big men on campus).

Give a Christmas gift to Big Blue Nation and Kentucky coach John Calipari: patience. Make the Wildcats play consistently. There is a lot of talent on the roster, but the youngsters make mistakes. Fans, relax, they will get better with SEC play coming soon.

Roy Williams would like a present for North Carolina -- better free throw shooting. The Tar Heels hit only 50 of 106 attempts in their three losses so far this season.

Let Fran McCaffery get back to the Big Dance with his Iowa Hawkeyes. They appear to be well on their way.

Santa, let people appreciate the backcourt play of the Arizona Wildcats. T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson play with rhythm and cohesiveness.

Give us more players who have the guts and unselfishness of Ohio State's Aaron Craft. He has a winner's mentality.

Allow Gonzaga's Sam Dower to have a speedy recovery. He left the Kansas State game after taking a hard fall and did not return.

Let's give some PR to undefeated Toledo -- the Rockets, not the Mud Hens. Coach Tod Kowalczyk has done an incredible job.

Santa, UCLA coach Steve Alford wants to get major opponents to play home and home. Give him a break and let him get the teams he wants on his schedule. Also, get the fans to come out to Pauley Pavilion to support the Bruins. Come on, students, show up and cheer on your team!

Please tell the Basketball Hall of Fame to get ready to open the doors and enshrine Tom Izzo, Bill Self and Billy Donovan. These guys have the resumes that belong in Springfield.

Kris Kringle, get Calipari and Tom Crean together and make them understand that the Indiana-Kentucky rivalry is vital. Let them realize that any hard feelings they may have should take a back seat to the needs of fans, players and boosters.

Give Ben Howland a special present. Put him back on the sidelines. He has the resume to get back into a big-time program.

Santa, it is time for some assistants to move up into head coaching assignments. Guys like Steve Wojciechowski of Duke, Mike Hopkins of Syracuse, Dwayne Stephens of Michigan State and Russell Springmann of Texas deserve a chance to run their own programs.

Let's lay out some big-time props to Wisconsin's Bo Ryan. His players always utilize good shot selection and play within the team concept. Ryan gets the most out of his players. That is what coaching is all about.

Please give Michigan State's Adreian Payne a great holiday. He gave Spartans fans a great show at Texas, scoring 33 points. Payne is a great player and an even better person. He was at my gala last year with his friend, cancer survivor Lacey Holsworth, and their relationship is special.

Santa, I am begging you to please help in the fight against cancer. Pediatric cancer is keeping kids in hospitals and off playgrounds. No kid should have to suffer, and recently we lost a young man in our area. Five-year old Eddie Livingston passed away and we are trying to raise enough money to get a research grant in his name. If fans want to help, they can call 1-800-4-JIMMY-V and reference Eddie, visit the V Foundation for Cancer Research's web page to donate in Eddie's honor at JimmyV.com/eddie, or go to my website at dickvitaleonline.com. for more info.

Finally Saint Nick, please give the fans a happy and healthy holiday season. Let them enjoy their families during this joyous occasion. Wish them a Happy 2014 -- I hope it will be awesome with a capital A!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.

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