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December 1, 2006

SCS.comDecember is now officially upon us, Christmas is fast approaching, and gifts are being bought for family and friends, but thereís one group of people you should make sure not to leave off of your holiday gift list. No matter what team you root for, there is something that you could get your favorite college basketball coach that would benefit him and his squad throughout this season. So with that in mind, here is a list of a select few coaches and the gifts that would be appropriate to get them through the upcoming holiday season.

Thad Matta

Think back to when you were little and Christmas gifts were starting to pile up. You look under the tree one day and see the biggest present of all sitting there with your name on it. Everyday you walk by and think about what it might be, and sometimes you even shake it and listen to try and give yourself a chance of figuring out what it is. You think you know what you will see once you unwrap it, but you wonít know for sure until you do, and you canít unwrap it until Christmas Day.

Now wake up from your trip down memory lane and apply all of this to Thad Matta. There really isnít anything that he can be given better than the gift that heís already got. His present is a seven foot-plus giant named Greg Oden that has been sitting under the tree for some time now. Not only has he already gotten the best gift, but the wrist injury to Oden that looked to be such a curse may end up being a second present that helps Oden become the biggest seven foot ambidextrous beast college basketball has seen. This in turn may give Matta an early Christmas come April in Atlanta. Matta, along with the rest of the country, is pretty sure what comes in this larger-than-life package. Now all he has to do is wait until itís okay to unwrap it.

Bobby Knight

This gift might have cost you a little less early on in his career when the only harm that was being done was verbally. But ever since Coach Knight tried to wrap his fingers around one of his playerís throats, the price of his present has gone up. A gift that would be beneficial to Coach Knight would need to be something that would keep him from treating his players like rag dolls and also something that would help him control his verbal outbursts towards fans, officials, players, and anyone else who happens to be in the way of his sudden fits.

I would give him a straight jacket and some duct tape and hereís why. I understand that a point can be made effectively when you use a strong, loud, intimidating yell at certain times, but Coach Knight seems to offer his smart mouth tactics to everyone that angers him. A little duct tape over his lips should help. The straight jacket would come in handy whenever Knight decides to take the liberty of hitting one of his players, and yes, it was a hit on Michael Prince, not a poke, jab, or strategy to regain his focus as many experts are saying. I donít understand how you earn respect from anyone by physically abusing them, which is what Coach Knight has done on at least two occasions.

If it were possible to give gifts that were intangible, a more fitting gift would be some class and self-control. But since those things are only attainable through self-disciple, I guess a straight jacket and duct tape will help.

Gary Williams

Most people will usually get an article or two of clothing for Christmas, but in Gary Williams' case, one or two pieces of clothing arenít going to cut it. Really, have you ever seen someone sweat so much in their life? Itís not normal for a coach to have to continually wipe the area of the court that they are standing over because they are sweating so much. After the first twenty minutes of basketball, Coach Williams looks like he has taken an early postgame shower. Iím thinking maybe get him some new shirts, maybe more than one. Actually, get him enough shirts that he can change and have a new one for each half of every game.

This could get pricey. You figure that during the regular season Coach Williams will have twenty to twenty-two games. Then comes the conference and NCAA tournaments. With players like D.J. Strawberry and others leading the way, the Terrapins are likely to be factors in both of these tournaments so add at least four more games. Thatís around twenty-six games. Now double it since there are two halves to every game. Weíre up to fifty-two shirts. Add a couple more for those memorable overtime games that are sure to happen, like when Duke played the most awesome 30 to 45 seconds of college basketball against Maryland a few years ago to force an extra period. Now weíre at fifty-four.

And you canít buy the cheap shirts. Remember weíre buying clothes for a well respected, nationally known coach who is seen by thousands every time his team steps out on the court; heís got to look good. So you do the math. A good deal of your Christmas gift money will be gone, but for this coach itís worth it, if for nothing else because of the passion and intensity that Coach Williams brings to every game.

Roy Williams

So now weíre faced with the all too common question, "What do you give someone who has everything?" And when I say everything, Iím not just talking about his players. The whole country knows about the all-star team that Coach Williams and his staff have put together. He doesnít need anyone else to come and play point guard (Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington), forward (Reyshawn Terry), or center (Brandon Wright, Tyler Hansbrough). Heís got all the best players at every one of those positions.

Iím also talking about the coaching skill that he displays. There doesnít seem to be any strategy that you and I normal fans could give him. He seems to have an answer, or at least a good quote, for every defense, offense, and lineup combination that he has seen. So maybe it would help to give him something to organize all of his thoughts, strategies, plays, and other game material the he may use. And with the talent he has, itís going to take more than a daily planner.

Iím thinking Microsoft Office, a Blackberry organizer, Palm Pilot, a few laptops, any other planning tool you can think of, and throw in a PS3. Iíve heard those things can do anything along with playing video games so maybe there is something on there to help him keep his game strategies and everything else organized.

On second thought, Coach Williams probably doesnít need any of this. Heís most likely got a way of organizing that would amaze the rest of us. Send him a Christmas card and save some money.

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