Mar 8, 2011, 11:50 AM EST
You’d think John Stockton’s son would be a natural point guard, and you’d be right. It just took a bit for him and Gonzaga to click.
It happened just in time, too.
Thanks to a big assist during the WCC tournament — from the offspring of the NBA’s all-time assists leader — the Zags are headed to the NCAA tournament for the 13th consecutive year.
“That’s why I wanted to come here,” Stockton told Ryan Greene of The Dagger. “I’ve dreamed about the NCAA tournament and watched the teams that went to the NCAA tournament and that’s what I wanted to be. Now that we have a chance to, I want to take full advantage of it.”
The freshman guard’s numbers in Gonzaga’s 75-63 win over St. Mary’s won’t blow you away (seven points, three assists and no turnovers), but he provided a spark every time he was in the game and was clearly the best distributor on the floor. At just 5-10 and 152 pounds, he’s smaller than his dad, but has the same knack for big plays.
His 3-pointer with 6:37 remaining capped an 8-0 Gonzaga run that effectively put away the Gaels.
“Stock’s was huge,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said afterward. “He’s got great instincts, a great feel for the game. Early on, he was a little bit of a defensive liability, but lately he’s been making all kinds of plays on defense. He’s always never feared the moment. That’s a great quality to have. He stepped up tonight and made a big 3.”
And it’s not like St. Mary’s overlooked Stockton. He had seven points and three assists in the Zags’ season finale win over the Gaels. When he’s in the game, he’s making a difference.
“When he comes in the game, the tempo of the game goes up,” St. Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “He’s a good passer. We didn’t do a very good job of guarding him tonight. Actually, that hurt us a lot. We didn’t guard him well and they got transition when he went in. We had it marked (on the scouting report), we just didn’t get it done.”
As you might expect, Stockton—who’s gone from former walk-on at his dad’s alma mater to key player — hears catcalls from fans because of his dad, but he’s heard them long enough that he now either tunes them out or keeps tabs on the best ones.
“I hear it from every crowd and every person, but I just can’t worry about it. I’ve been hearing that stuff my whole life, so I just try to embrace it rather than fight it,” he told Greene.
“The best sign was at Washington State. It said ‘Stockton’s Money = Stockton’s Minutes.’ That was my favorite one.”
As for dad, he tries to play the silent supporting role. John was in the Gonzaga locker room afterward, but didn’t comment on his son’s performance, mostly to keep David in the spotlight.
Classy move. Credit dad with an assist as well.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
- JayVaughn Pinkston’s block gives No. 12 Villanova a win over No. 19 Michigan (VIDEO) 1
- Maryland upsets No. 13 Iowa State as fearless freshmen mix with gritty veterans for balanced effort 3
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s selflessness during the Maui Invitational will help No. 3 Arizona in the long run 0
- Player of the Year Power Rankings: A familiar face on top, but a few surprises behind him 0
- Ricky Doyle secures 70-63 win for No. 19 Michigan over Oregon in Legends Classic 0
- Villanova’s win is evidence of why VCU may have peaked as a basketball program 13
- Mike Brey was excited about Notre Dame’s loss because the Irish have their closer back 1
- Poll: 54 percent of people think Kentucky beats the 76ers, 54 percent of people are dumb (31)
- Villanova’s win is evidence of why VCU may have peaked as a basketball program (13)
- Rick Pitino on blow out win: ‘We played four white guys and an Egyptian’ (7)
- College Basketball Talk’s latest top 25: Kentucky reigns, but how far will Kansas, Florida slide? (5)
- Michigan’s John Beilein rips ESPN for late tip time during Tuesday’s loss (4)