Playing his game Stocktons son working hard as backup point guard at Westminster
Featured in Deseret Morning News, KUTV and Arts.net
February 22, 2008
Michael Stockton kind of misses the advantages he used to enjoy when his dad was an NBA star. Having basically an all-access pass at the Delta Center was a young boy’s dream. Not only could he and his siblings shoot around on the court before and after Utah Jazz games, but he also got to wander through locker rooms and chat with the players.
Coaches at Westminster College are just happy their freshman point guard didn’t heed the advice he received in one of those conversations.
During one of Michael’s memorable trips to the visitors locker room, Charles Barkley got John Stockton’s second-oldest child to admit in front of reporters that the Phoenix Suns would “probably” beat the Jazz in the playoffs. The Round Mound also coerced the 6-year-old to claim he was his favorite NBA player (after his dad, of course) and joked that Utah’s point guard went to “Gargonzola Cheese College.”
Then came some friendly/frightening college advice: “Get 20 points and 10 rebounds (and) pass the ball like your dad and you won’t have to worry about your education.” And, Barkley counseled, forget following dad to Gonzaga.
“Go to Auburn,” he said. “They paid very well.”
Twelve years later, Michael Stockton didn’t pursue the big bucks in Alabama — despite Barkley’s plea. The 6-foot point guard (what else?) didn’t follow his father’s famous footsteps to the private college in Spokane, Wash., either. Instead, he followed them back to Salt Lake City to play at the campus where his dad practiced with the Jazz and to the city where his old man became a basketball legend.
Playing in familiar surroundings in Utah and at Westminster — where the Stockton boys often tagged along with dad at the old Payne Gymnasium — factored into Michael’s decision to attend this private liberal arts college. He was also impressed by coach Tommy Connor, the players and the school.