This is my college basketball wish list for the 2008 holiday season. I know you are a college hoops fan because you gave me a Malcom Mackey jersey when I was 13 and I've seen a video of your baby hook on YouTube. Very smooth. I don't expect you to come through on all the requests, but even a few would make this holiday season more bearable.
• A family dinner with Oregon State coach Craig Robinson. Not only could I pass the potatoes to President Elect Obama, I could make snide comments about Robinson's Beavers going 1-5 and losing to Howard and Yale.
• Luke Harangody's flat top. The last time I went to get a haircut, I took a picture of Harangody and the barber laughed. "No gel, no flat top," he said.
• Chris Wright's pogo stick. Seriously, the Dayton forward maintains a 39.5-inch vertical. He must be hiding springs in his shoes. How else does he get nosebleeds when he dunks?
• Patrick Mills' accent. Seriously, the Australian national, who plays point guard for St. Mary's, must get ladies by the dozen. He's averaging 20.7 points per game for the Gaels and he can do a mean Crocodile Dundee imitation. Women love Crocodile Dundee.
• A.J. Abrams' compression sleeve. The Texas guard wears it on his right arm in tribute to Allen Iverson. I'd wear mine as a tribute to Abrams' jump shot.
• A Paul Harris afro. The Syracuse forward only showed off the 'fro for one game -- an 86-51 win against Colgate -- but it was a life-changing experience for fans.
• A victory for NJIT. You can make that happen, right Santa? The Hilltoppers have lost 42 straight games. When they finally win one, there's going to be a hell of a party in Newark.
• A Pat Knight sweater vest. The vests really have a slimming effect on the Texas Tech coach.
• One night out at a bar with Loyola (Md.) coach Jimmy Patsos and IUPUI coach Ron Hunter. These two guys might be the most animated leaders in college basketball. Patsos once coached a game from the stands and, last season, Hunter patrolled the sidelines barefoot to raise money for charity.
• A pep talk from legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. Something along the lines of, "I won 10 NCAA national championships in 12 years. I am regarded as the best college basketball coach of all time. And you're the one, kid. You got what it takes." If you can't make that happen, Santa, I'd like to dust the UCLA trophy case and tutor the cheerleaders.
• A trip to an all-you-can-eat buffet with Memphis forward Pierre Niles. He was 310 lbs. last year, but has lost a lot of weight this season, so you know he's hungry.
• A national championship for North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough. The reigning national player of the year deserves a reward for returning to college even though his best choice financially would have been to skip his senior season and jump to the NBA.
• The services of San Diego attorney Richard Muir, who got San Diego State forward Lorrenzo Wade off the hook after Wade was caught stealing a flat-screen television from his neighbor. Santa, you know as well as I do how important a good lawyer can be.
• Hasheem Thabeet's wingspan. The 7-foot-3 UConn center has a wingspan that exceeds his height by two inches. Imagine that. I could be eating gummy worms at the kitchen counter and reach into the fridge for ketchup without even having to stand up.
• This last one is going to be tough, but it would really mean a lot to me. I'd like to be Stephen Curry. I want his smooth jump shot, that sexy step-back move and the effortless crossover. I want his genes. I want his mother to tuck me in at night. I want to be able to prove to all my previous detractors how brilliant I really am.
Thanks, Santa. If you want to throw in Final Four tickets, feel free, but there's no obligation. Detroit in early April sounds as fun as visiting the Anne Frank house on hallucinogens. You're the best.
Shoot hoops, not guns,
Jacob E. Osterhout