Brad Rock: Latest Stockton hoping for a chance in Europe

Published: Tuesday, May 31 2011 3:21 p.m. MDT

Michael Stockton talks with the media after a pre-draft workout for the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, May 31, 2011.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — He's not as quick as his dad was, and his hands aren't freakishly large for his height. His peripheral vision is pretty much average. His passing is good but not exquisite.

Michael Stockton, by his own admission, is no John Stockton.

Still, like his dad, he thinks several moves ahead. While attending Westminster College in Salt Lake, he freely admitted his long-term goal was to own the Utah Jazz.

"That's not going well at the moment," he laughed on Tuesday. "The Millers seem to have a stranglehold on it; I don't think I'll be able to pry it from their fingers. But maybe someday I'll get to be part of it, some way, somehow ... but that's a little bit down the road."

Michael Stockton stopped by the Jazz's practice center for a pre-draft workout with the team he knows best, and vice versa. All went well, if you ask him. He and three others — including BYU's Jackson Emery — got a pat on the back and words of encouragement. None will likely play in the NBA.

All the younger Stockton is missing are a few of his father's gifts: eyes that could see beyond 180 degrees, hands the size of a 7-footer, anticipation of a cat.

But those are things you don't learn, you receive.

"That's why he's in the Hall of Fame and I'm trying to find a spot in Europe," Michael said.

What, no All-Star career in the NBA?

"I don't think it's on this continent," he said. "I believe in myself and that I can play with anybody, but the NBA is a completely different level. That takes a lot of experience, and I'm not there yet. That's OK. Will I ever be there? I don't know, but ... I'm just trying to go across the pond and find something."

It has been 27 years since John Stockton showed up in Salt Lake and became arguably the game's best true point guard. He holds the all-time records for assists and steals.

That's a lot to follow.

Michael graduated from Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, same as his father, and moved on to Westminster, where he averaged 18.2 points, 4.2 assists and four rebounds his senior year. Before that, he was one of the six Stockton kids who would visit the locker room. He knew all the players, including current Jazz coaches Ty Corbin and Jeff Hornacek.

He returned from Spokane to Salt Lake for graduation last week and meantime got an invitation to Tuesday's workout. A lefty (unlike his father), he said that while many things seemed second nature, he was nonetheless nervous the previous night.

"I slept well for about two hours, then I'd wake up and get excited and then try to get back to sleep," he said.

The workout had a surreal element. Zions Bank Basketball Center had banners, photos and jerseys of his famous father everywhere. Michael called it "an amazing place."

It's not as though the Jazz expect to draft either he or Emery. Mostly it was a chance for the invitees to shop themselves to foreign teams. The Jazz have afforded similar opportunities for local players such as Utah's Luke Nevill, Johnnie Bryant and Shawn Green, BYU's Emery and Travis Hansen and USU's Jaycee Carroll and Gary Wilkinson.

But if there's anything to be said about the younger Stockton — beyond being a fine small college player — it's that he's well-adjusted. When he met with the media on Tuesday he was relaxed and open, something the media didn't often see with his father.

Asked who he pretended to be when he was a kid playing ball in the driveway, Michael joked, "I don't know if you want to know that. I always switched, but for Utah media purposes, I'll say John Stockton. But it switched all the time. It was one of those flavor-of-the-month deals."

He was witty, engaging, candid. And he patiently stayed until the last reporter had finished.

There are indeed some things he does better than his dad.

email: rock@desnews.com, Twitter: therockmonster

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