Sunday, Dec. 20
NORTH POLE

Santa Claus and his staff have been very busy this month. They've been making their lists, checking them twice and finding out who's naughty and nice.

Santa has also been going over the wish lists of coaches, players and teams to see what he should provide on Friday.

The Red Sox asked for a topof- the-rotation pitcher and an outfielder who can play multiple positions. Oh, what? Theo Epstein already opened his gift?

That's OK because since Epstein is Jewish, John Lackey and Mike Cameron become Epstein's Hanukkah present.

But the Red Sox have a stilllengthy Christmas gift list, including a power-hitting infielder or outfielder, and perhaps a young catcher who can develop to one day replace Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek.

Getting something for the Red Sox is like giving a gift to the man or the woman who has everything.

That's also the case with the gift list for the New York Yankees. Curtis Granderson appeared under the tree this year, and it is a nice gift to have. The Yankees had their big holiday last year with ubergifts CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and a World Series championship.

When UMass coach Derek Kellogg opens his gifts on Christmas, Santa could drop him off another point guard - a Derrick Rose point guard.

That's what the Minutemen really need to run the dribble drive motion offense. That's why Memphis got to the Final Four, because Rose was athletic enough and could shoot enough to do everything a point guard needs to do.


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Since one is not on the horizon, the best gift Kellogg - and the rest of Minuteman Nation - can get is the gift of patience.

UMass played Memphis Saturday night at the TD Garden, and it didn't have the sheen a Kellogg vs. Calipari game might have had. Didn't those retro "Massachusetts" uniforms look sweet? The Minutemen should wear them more often. But Santa digresses. Patience is the key because with only Ricky Harris and Anthony Gurley having extensive varsity experience, it is going to take a while to develop a team chemistry.

There should be a new football facility under the tree at Williams College.

The long-awaited renovation to Weston Field should begin as soon as possible, perhaps as soon as the college can unwrap the gift.

A lighted turf football facility could bring Super Bowl or playoff games to Williamstown, and will be great for the football Ephs, for students to play intramurals on, and for the local high school teams to practice and play.

If you are a reader of books, Santa has two sports books to recommend.

"When The Game Was Ours," by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, written by former Globe scribe Jackie McMullan, is a fascinating story of the relationship between these two NBA titans. The stories are entertaining and the insight is fascinating.

And "Wicked Good Year - How the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics Turned The Hub Of The Universe Into the Capital of Sports" by Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley tells the reader about the time period from the Sox winning the World Series in 2007 to the Celtics winning the NBA title in 2008 - with the Patriots' run at perfection in between.

And for the most important gift of all, to you dear reader, a very Merry Christmas season.