A Stockton Leads Gonzaga, Again
It appears there is a new rising point guard on the Gonzaga horizon, with a very familiar last name. Redshirt freshman David Stockton, the son of N.B.A. Hall of Famer John Stockton, is beginning to write his own history as a player.
David helped the Zags (24-9) win the West Coast Conference tournament Monday night, beating St. Mary’s, 75-63, to automatically advance into the N.C.A.A. Tournament. David contributed seven points and three assists in 28 minutes off the bench.
His role has been growing as the season progresses. He’s averaging 23.5 minutes over the past 13 games. He started the season averaging only 10.5 minutes per game off the bench.
He had modest expectations for his first season in the playing rotation.
“It’s going way faster than I thought,” David told Rivals.com. “I had just hoped I would get in a couple of times (this year) and show the coaches I could play. They’ve stuck with me a little bit, now I’m playing a lot and I really enjoy it.”
Gonzaga has survived an up-and-down season, recently getting things together.
“I’m learning still, in my 40s, the resiliency of kids,” Zags Coach Mark Few told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “These guys hung with it and hung with it when it felt like the whole world was collapsing with all the people around them. They hung with it, took it day by day. That’s something we could all probably learn from.
“Just the way we won this last string of games. None of them have been pretty, but we made defensive stops, we stepped up and hit big free throws.”
Stockton, with his dad watching in the stands, made two smart plays that helped the Zags win. He drew the fourth foul on St. Mary’s forward Mitchell Young, with Gonzaga only up three with less than 15 minutes to play. Young had to sit down, and Gonzaga was able to penetrate the interior more easily to score.
The game was quite physical, and St. Mary’s pounded away to cut the Zags’ lead down to two with seven minutes left. Stockton hit a three-pointer to pad the lead. His final helpful move was a brave frozen-rope pass through traffic with two minutes to go, finding junior forward Robert Sacre for an easy, rim-rocking jam.
The younger Stockton invokes a lot of his father. David stands a slender 5-11, handles the ball with good court vision, doesn’t commit turnovers, plays tough defense and loves to shoot threes. He’s a reserve, averaging 4.1 points and 2.7 assists per game.
But unlike his father, David had to prove he belonged playing Division I basketball. He didn’t have any scholarship offers coming out of high school in Spokane. He walked on to the Zags and earned a full scholarship for this season through hard work.
Stockton’s play drew the attention of his father’s former N.B.A. rivals.
Magic Johnson, who knows a little something about playing guard, watched the game on television and posted his thoughts on Twitter.
“I’m enjoying watching my old rival,” Johnson wrote. “Like father, like son.”
In many ways it was ordained Stockton would play for the Zags, as John starred for them from 1980-84. David’s mom, Nada, was a Gonzaga volleyball player. And David’s great grandfather, Houston Stockton, played halfback for the Zags from 1922-24.