He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town and even though it may seem like today’s college basketball stars are too old to be worried about whether or not they’ll be getting presents or coal, Santa still needs to put everyone on the list somewhere. This year, I figured I’d help out the big man and make his job a little easier by making a case for some of college basketball’s biggest names and why they should be labeled as naughty or nice.
LaVar Ball (Naughty): The father of the notorious Ball brothers made headlines for about the millionth time in 2017 when he announced that he would try to establish a league for college-aged players who don’t want to play at a university. He even added a little extra incentive by saying he’ll pay the league’s top players up to $10k a month. Although the idea seems like a smart idea, it is unsound logistically. It also seems like another strange way to promote his son’s LiAngelo and LaMelo, who were both pulled from college and high school respectively to go play overseas professionally in Lithuania. All the commotion from the Ball family is just exhausting at this point and needs to stop. Maybe a fat lump of coal in LaVar’s stocking will knock some sense into him.
Bobby Hurley/Arizona State (Nice): Coach Hurley and the Arizona State Sun Devils have done everything right this year. They are one of three undefeated teams in college basketball and are ranked No. 3 in the nation. The Sun Devils haven’t been this feared in the Pac-12 since James Harden tore up the conference in the 2008-2009 season. Even then, ASU wasn’t this dominant. Hurley’s team has all the pieces for a deep tournament run, including a veteran backcourt that has been sensational during their undefeated start to the season. Santa really can’t have much to complain about here and even left them an early Christmas present in the form of class of 2018 guard Jaelen House who committed to Arizona State on Saturday.
Trae Young (Nice): Young has been the Sooners’ superman and more. He leads the nation is points per game (28.7 ppg) and also leads the nation in assists per game (10.7 apg). These absolutely video game-like numbers have propelled Oklahoma to a 10-1 start and lead many to believe this is the year Kansas finally doesn’t win the Big-12. Regardless of where the Sooners finish in the conference standings, Young will be putting up insane averages and use his flashy style of play to wow the country. Santa doesn’t generally appreciate show-offs, but I think he can look past it in this circumstance. I mean, come on, LOOK AT THIS KIDS’ RANGE!
JP Macura (Naughty): Nobody has ever doubted the Xavier guard’s competitiveness, but this season Macura has been on the wrong side of some controversial moments. Following Xavier’s rivalry matchup against Cincinnati, Macura reportedly told the Bearcats’ coach Mick Cronin to “F off”, among other expletives, sparking an outburst by Cronin in which he had to be held back. Generally, swearing and calling out another team’s coach won’t impress anyone, including Santa. Macura is a solid player on a very good Xavier team, but it may take more than just some milk and cookies on Christmas Eve to convince Mr. Clause that Macura is worthy of a nice gift this year.
Mick Cronin on JP Macura: "I've never had a kid tell me to 'F off' three times in a game."
— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) December 2, 2017