Christmas. What would be your ultimate joy? To be Santa Claus for 24 hours? Own a mystical and bottomless sack of feel goods? Be a bearer of good tidings, raised hopes and sparkles unburdened by bail-out blues and the rest?
Maybe a one night fly-over, leaving gifts practical and not, pricey and not, but most of all, dream fillers under Christmas trees? Anonymously?
If I could be the white whiskered man in a red suit, these would be my top 10 dream fillers.
1. Mike Casey. Return to good health. Period.
2. Tribute to Adolph Rupp. Fifty years ago, in 1958, he coached Kentucky to a fourth NCAA title. To date, school athletics officials have honored the late equipment manager more than the man whose name is on the building and who made basketball in Kentucky what it is.
3. For UK fans, more of the splendid team play they saw versus Appalachian State.
4. For Mitch Barnhart, a U.S. registered patent on Memorandum of Understanding.
5. Patrick Patterson, a few 20- shot nights and tally up the double-doubles. And a doubledouble reminder: College is fleeting and more fun than lugging luggage 85 nights with mefirst showtime types in the NBA.
6. For Kyle Macy, a broadcasting gig as analyst at the SEC Basketball Tournament. He deserves it.
7. League of Their Own franchise (farm system included) for football coaches Bob Beatty (Trinity), Mike Glaser (St. X.), Bob Schneider (Newport Catholic) and Dale Mueller (Highlands).
8. When early Kentucky Mr. Football ’09 nominee list goes up it includes student-athlete Caleb Watkins, star running back at Corbin.
9. Gift card: 15 minutes of fame for every student-athlete who says, “… it’s an honor to wear this uniform.”
10. For you … season tickets.
News & Views
NEWS. Louisville, led by Earl Clark’s superb show — 25 points, 16 rebounds, five blocked shots, four assists, beat back Ole Miss. Two days later NBA lottery pickers (and virtually nobody else) showed up in Phoenix for the Louisville-Minnesota game.
VIEW. Oops. And yes, the officiating was awful.
NEWS. Tubby Smith has Minnesota off to its first 10-0 start since “Welcome Back Kotter” was on TV (1970s). Cherry on top? A victory over mentor Rick ‘Da Coach’ Pitino.
VIEW. Dr. Tubby looked snazzy in pin stripes, too, didn’t he? We don’t need Dr. Phil to explain the miracles of job change do we?
NEWS. Rick Pitino said his Louisville team’s greatness depends on Edgar Sosa becoming a great point guard.
VIEW. Three seasons and Cardinal fans are still waiting for the light to come on. Maybe Sosa’s eureka moment will arrive by Jan. 4.
NEWS. Billy Clyde Gillispie got VIP treatment at ESPN headquarters last week.
VIEW. UK’s coach waxed Sarah Palin, golly-goshed and pandered for more face time. He handled the predictable questions well, first among them pressure coaching hoops at Kentucky? Gillispie didn’t blink. Loves every minute, he said. And why not? Banking $7,692 every two weeks in this economy relieves lots of pressure. You betcha.
NEWS. Tyler Hansbrough became North Carolina’s all-time leading scorer last week.
VIEW. More notable, Hansbrough is one in a vanishing breed joining Tim Duncan — a college player of the year with “senior” beside his name and a college degree at hand.
NEWS. Lexington Henry Clay linebacker Mike Federspiel committed to Western Kentucky football last week.
VIEW. A coup for Hilltopper football if coach Dave Elson signs him in February. Young Federspiel is 6-3, 210 and son of UK star linebacker Joe Federspiel (1970-71) who played nine years in the NFL.
Gillispie’s Fantastic Billy Clyde Gillispie told an ESPN audience last week, “I think DeAndre Liggins is going to be fantastic. I’ve had the luxury of being around really good guards.”
Really? UK’s coach should bridle his adjectives. Wildcat fans have seen fantastic and so far Liggins isn’t it.
In fact, Kentucky has had more outstanding guards than Gillispie has had birthdays and virtually no freshmen ever saw fantastic attached to their names.
Gillispie should school-up on UK’s history, be mindful of UK fans’ grasp of it, then re-think application of adjectives to his players and timing, too.
Would be fantastic. And so it goes. Merry Christmas.