It's been the experience of a lifetime for me. I've loved it. —John Stockton
SALT LAKE CITY — For the first round of the NIT, Montana State assistant coach John Stockton returned to the city where he became a Hall of Famer with the Utah Jazz.
If that was a coincidence for the Stockton family, it was nothing compared to what could have been in the second round.
With a 95-61 loss Friday night at the Huntsman Center, John and his daughter Lindsay, a starting guard for the Bobcats, failed to advance to play a familiar opponent: John Stockton's alma mater Gonzaga, and its freshman guard Laura Stockton, another of John's daughters.
Did the Stocktons think about that when they first saw the bracket?
"It was a bridge we planned on crossing if we came to it," John said. "Unfortunately we didn't get there. That's bittersweet when it does happen. It's very hard to be a part of, when you're daughters play against each other, but it's also very rewarding."
When asked how Lindsay has grown in her time at Montana State, John began to tear up.
"The young lady that I know now is different," he said. "She's much more mature. A better leader. A better player. I'm grateful for this coaching staff."
On the opportunity to coach Lindsay her senior year, John described the experience as untouchable.
"It's been the experience of a lifetime for me," he said. "I've loved it."
With six basketball-playing kids, John has said on several occasions that his priority is with his children in their senior seasons. When asked what it's like for Lindsay's senior year to come to an end, he said he’s excited about what's ahead for her.
"I'm excited for her prospects," he said. "She's a fine young lady and something great will come from all of this."
Besides Lindsay, John had coached a few of her Bobcat teammates on youth teams before, and said he grew close to each of Montana State's players.
"You know, it's really like this season I have 15 daughters," he said. "That's how I feel about them."
John also spoke emotionally about returning to Salt Lake City.
"So many good memories here, that have been so good for our family," he said. "I have to be careful though, because once I start into the emotions, it could all come out."