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Christmas Shopping for the Musketeers

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What would you get for your favorite Muskie(s)? Here's our list, which we checked only once because proofreading is for cowards.

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"Tell Stainta Claus what you want for Christmas."
"Tell Stainta Claus what you want for Christmas."
Matt Stainbrook and Tim Whelan

Last year Joel and I opened up the proverbial billfolds and spent a little money on our favorite college athletes for Christmas. You can feel free to fill in whatever joke about the NCAA investigating a hypothetical spending spree by two really poor guys right here, I'll wait... Now that that's out of the way, it's time to dive back under our fake evergreens and see what Santa brought the Musketeers this year. Rest assured, you won't find any socks or sweater sets here. While these gifts will be practical, they'll also be something that won't require that fake smile everyone is forced to throw on at least once a year.

To: Justin Martin
From: Joel D

Nobody in the world doubts Justin Martin's talent, except maybe JMart himself and also definitely my dad. What we all do doubt is his ability to be consistent, most recently illustrated with his 116 ORtg against UC followed by his 54 against Alabama. The opposite of that is this lovely Wittner Mahogany Metronome, which does its thing over and over without wavering even a bit. Study its ways, JMart. Set this little beauty in your locker as a reminder that every action should be taken at the same high level.

To: Erik Stenger
From: Brad D

No one at Xavier has had a rougher start to the season than Erik Stenger. After appearing in the first four games and seeing a significant jump in his rate stats, Erik fell ill and missed six straight. Two minutes in the Crosstown Shootout were followed by another zero against Alabama. While it's hard to be certain at all if the sickness is recurring or serious, we all want Erik to recover his health in a timely manner.

Buying a doctor is out of the question, though, so I went high end for the big man. While sitting on the bench it's important to look your very best, and no one outfits the stylish man like Hackett London. A gift card and that unused Bahamas travel stipend should do the the trick.

To: Tim Whelan
From: Joel D

A Hungry Howie's gift card. Tim Whelan tweeted a shot of himself and Erik Stenger eating Hungry Howie's and saying that it was the best way to celebrate a roadkill. I'm riding a wave of confidence in this team right now, and I believe Whelan and Stenger are going to have many more opportunities ahead of them to tuck into offerings of the nation's eleventh-largest pizza chain, so I'm going to finance a couple of those trips for the two of them.

To: Myles Davis
From: Brad D

What do you get for the freshman that has everything (except hair)? The Armasight Infrared Rangefinder, obviously. We frequently refer to Davis' range in a variety of colloquialisms, but wouldn't it be better if he knew exactly how much range he had? Better still, the infrared sensor can be installed backwards* to let Myles know exactly how hot he is at any given moment. There's no need for a heat check when you are always glowing red.

To: Isaiah Philmore
From: Joel D

This was a tough one. Philmore played really well in front of his family, so I tried to get that hologram machine they used to make it look like Tupac was at Coachella. No go. After that, I realized that he seems to be constantly having trouble with his goggle lenses popping out. A little research led me to a high-impact, optically clear epoxy adhesive. I didn't understand all the product specs, but it said that it bonds firmly to plastics, glasses, and glass fibers, is impact resistant, and is completely clear. Sounds like the perfect fix to those pesky lenses trying to escape.

To: Matt Stainbrook
From: Brad D

It may have come up a time or two that the StainTrain hails from the same great city as the Banners staff. While Cleveland isn't for everyone, most notably Sam Wyche, who seemed almost wistful when he made those comments, it suits us quite well. Matt is known for his sartorial excellence, so the folks at Cleveland Clothing Co would surely love to see the Indians fan sporting their "It Will Always be the Jake!" tee.

To: Dee Davis
From: Joel D

Brad suggested a restraining order from me, but - though my borderline inappropriate affinity for Dee has been well-documented - I went a different route. I ran down to my local Amazon and ordered Dee a copy of Dave and the Giant Pickle. If you don't have a niece/nephew/sibling/child/self in the target demographic, you'll likely need me to explain that this is the VeggieTales retelling of the story of David and Goliath. A repeated line in the show is that "little guys can do big things too." Doesn't matter if you can't dunk (or even grab rim), Dee; I believe in you and always will.

To: Semaj Christon
From: Brad D

Semaj is tough to buy for this year. Last year, Joel got him Gatorade and a Camelbak that it seems he's put to good use. This year, Semaj is forcing things a bit at the rim (where his 51% FG is 9% below NCAA average) and seems too frenetic at times. Nothing calms you down quite like reading, and nothing makes you more able to dismiss most numbers as statistical noise like the book Proofiness. Calming the mind and wowing teammates with math facts? Can't beat that.

To: Brandon Randolph
From: Joel D

One-year memberships to hoop-math.com and KenPom.com. I want to preface this with saying that I love Randolph's game and when he tweets out that he's going to get it right, I believe him. To that end, I want to empower the young man with the knowledge required to hone the rough edges of his performance. The combined information at hand from those two sites will be both encouraging (great job on providing assists and avoiding turnovers!) and challenging (maybe work on shooting from close to the rim, mid-range, and three-point range!) as he works to become the star I think we all believe he'll be.

To: James Farr
From: Brad D

First, an apology. In my preseason player preview I intimated that James would do well just to put up numbers that showed improvement. Whoops. Secondly, I'm getting James all the Where's Waldo books I can find. While you do have to earn your points in from of James Farr's rim (that block rate is top 100 in the nation), our three point burying hero can get a bit lost when he gets away from the paint on defense. Perhaps in many lessons in finding someone else, he may better learn to locate himself. Boom, zen.

To: Jalen Reynolds
From: Joel D

I love Jalen's enthusiasm on the defensive end and the glass, but he always seems to be bumping into those pesky dudes in the other uniform. If only he could get his body exactly where he wanted it to be, he'd be an unstoppable force. I recently read that juggling has been shown to lead to massive improvements in hand-eye coordination, ambidexterity, peripheral vision, depth perception, visual reaction time, and neuromuscular balance, so to that end I've opened up the virtual checkbook to get him this juggling beginner's pack from Great Lakes Sports. You can also get one with knives, but I feel like we should work up to that.

To: Kamall Richards and Landen Amos
From: Brad D

I know, I know, you guys are thinking you got hosed because you got a joint gift. I'm sorry, but it just has to be this way. See, you guys have spent a lot of time sitting next to one another so far this year, so you might as well make it count. I went all in on this one, because I spent a lot of time sitting on the end of the bench in college. Frankly, it's a lonely feeling. The trainer seems less attentive, the water boy frequently suggests that you just get it yourself, and someone sweaty is always taking your towel. The Jaymar 32100 Sectional leather sofa (in blue, of course) ought to ease that pain a bit. If Coach Mack needs you, you slam down that reclining end seat and bounce into the game like a boss.

To: Remy Abell
From: Joel D

Remy frequently tweets about his faith in God and how much it means to him, so to that end I've gotten him an ESV Study Bible. This is the Bible my pastor uses, and he speaks very highly of it. A fairly literal translation in a vernacular some might find more accessible than the 1611 King James, the ESV is top-notch stuff. The additional study aids in the notes and margins of the Bible should only amplify Remy's enjoyment of this gift, and a good Bible on hand is a lot better than some of the other ways a college kid might be tempted to use his time during a redshirt year.

It's another year almost in the books, but the basketball season is just heating up. Here at Banners HQ, we hope you have some quiet time today to spend with the folks who mean the most to you. Merry Christmas!

* If you actually get a rangefinder for Christmas, don't actually do this. You'll just break it.