This is my interpretation of what Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipar might say in a letter to Santa Claus:
It's been a while since I've written, and I apologize for that. That last year when I asked for a shot at the Kentucky job and a Final Four and found both in my stocking, I blamed you when the NCAA came along and took one of them away. But now I realize that wasn't your fault, and now that I've been at Kentucky for a year, I realize more than ever that was the best Christmas present you could have ever brought me. Thank you.
Santa, I have been very good this year, and I think it's time I sent you my list again. I promise it isn't too lengthy, so I'll get straight to it. Here's what I would very much like for Christmas:
- Freedom for Enes Kanter to play for Kentucky. See how magnanimous I am, Santa, asking for things for others? I am a giver, that's for sure. Yeah, I know, that has a small benefit for me, too, but think of all the Kentucky fans that this would make happy. There's just no downside to this, Santa, so please see if you can make this happen. The kid deserves it, the fans deserve it, and okay, maybe I might be just a bit deserving also, but it isn't all about me.
- A victory over the Louisville Cardinals. Louisville looks pretty tough this year, and the game is in their new arena, the Chicken Ranch (or whatever it's called). I know that they lost in an embarrassing train wreck of a game to Drexel that was as hard to watch as Barney the Dinosaur and Pee Wee Herman singing an "I Love You, You Love Me" duet a cappella, but we all know that was part of Rick Pitino's penance for his abuse of a perfectly good Italian restaurant a few years back. I'd like to provide some more of his comeuppance in the form of a two-game losing streak, one Italian-American to another.
- An NBA lockout. I know, Santa, that's kind of like asking for hardship on others, but really, the NBA players need the break, the NBA needs to get its head on straight, and I think it would be good for the NBA and college basketball alike. Think of all the players, like Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones (and Kemba Walker, too -- see how I think of others?) who would be around for one more year of college basketball and that much closer to a degree. NBA fans have been through this before, they know how it works. But it's better for the kids, Santa. Okay, yes, it's better for me, too, but hey, win-win!
Trevor Lacy as a Wildcat. We don't really need him, but hey, they say the perfect gift is something that somebody would not, or could not, get for themselves, but that they would enjoy. I would really enjoy coaching this kid, and I think he would enjoy being coached by me. Plus, Louisville just landed Rodney Purvis, and Pitino is just getting way too much good publicity out of that. You know I need to one-up that guy whenever possible, and let's face it -- he was really naughty last year and needs some switches to go along with that lump of coal.
- A win at Tennessee on March 6th. Santa, you and I both know that everyone not a Kentucky fan believes wrongly that I am a cheater. I just want the chance to stick it to a real cheater in front of their home fans. The fact that I detest that guy with all my heart and in the deepest depths of my immortal soul for ever and ever has nothing at all to do with this request, it is purely a matter of justice.
- A Final Four that counts. You know and I know that I'm not to blame for the two Final Fours that the NCAA took away, so how's about one that counts? I'm not asking for the National Championship here, I'll take my chances with that. Just get me to the last weekend of the season and I'll be happy. Just one more thing -- I'd love a shot at the Duke Blue Devils along the way, if you think that isn't asking too much.
I told you this list would be short, Santa. I know you appreciate that. I'll be waiting for you with cookies, milk, and a nice bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel to knock the chill off. See you Saturday Week!
Head Coach, University of Kentucky Men's Basketball