Former Utah Jazz Guard David Stockton led a clinic for the Junior Jazz program at the Center Street Gym on Wednesday, Aug. 8, running drills with Moab’s youth basketball players in attendance.
The clinic was free to attend for both Junior Jazz participants and the general public.
Through the Junior Jazz program, the Utah Jazz provide uniforms, equipment, rules, guidelines and coaching resources for youth basketball throughout the state, Moab City Recreation Director Patrick Trim said. MCR has long been a participant in the program.
“They’re always available if we have any concerns,” he said.
During the NBA off-season each year, several Utah Jazz players tour the state leading clinics for youth basketball players. Each player makes several stops on the tour, sometimes more than one in the same day.
Stockton visited USU-Eastern in Price and Emery High School in Castle Dale on Tuesday, Aug. 7, before continuing the trek south to Moab and Monticello on Aug. 8.
In Moab, Stockton and clinic participants jumped right into a series of drills. In the first drill, players separated into three groups, then lined up in their groups. The players in line would hand the ball on the left to the person behind them, then switch to the right. Each time the ball got to the back of the line, the player in the back would begin to roll the ball back to the front of the line through the players’ legs. After a couple of rounds, they switched to handing the ball over their heads to the player behind them, then later added dribbling and a layup.
In the middle of the clinic, each player took turns shooting from various spots on the floor. Finally, three groups of youth players took turns playing against Stockton, his clinic assistant, Trim and his assistant. The kids were required to make 10 passes before anyone was allowed to shoot. That rule didn’t apply to the adults as Stockton heaved shots up from near half court against octuple-teams.
“These kids take the challenge and want to play as hard as they can,” Stockton said. “It’s fun to see that excitement.”
Moab resident Josh Green is a big fan of the Jazz sending players out to lead youth clinics, especially in rural areas like Moab.
“It gives (fans) a chance to see a Jazz player in action,” he said. “A lot of these kids here at the clinic have never been to a Jazz game.”
Green said a clinic he attended when he was a kid triggered his love for basketball.
“For kids on the fence about basketball, it may ignite a passion for them to want to play,” he said, adding that he attended a clinic with Jazz icon Thurl Bailey when he was a kid, and pinpointed it as the reason he likes basketball.
Green’s oldest son, Chris, took part in the clinic at Center Street Gym, and said his favorite part was the dribbling, and the autograph session that took place after the clinic, in which Stockton autographed items fans brought, or pictures for empty-handed fans.
“I loved it,” Green said of his Stockton autograph. “I wish I could get another one.”
In addition to autographs, Stockton also stood for pictures with fans before heading to Monticello for his second clinic of the day.
Stockton, the son of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and Jazz Legend John Stockton, made his NBA debut for the Sacramento Kings in 2014 after playing collegiate basketball at Gonzaga University. He made stops in Croatia and New Zealand, as well as at the NBA G League’s Reno Bighorns before signing a 10-day contract with the Jazz in March 2018, which he parlayed into a roster spot for the rest of last season. On Aug. 1, just a week before his clinic in Moab, David Stockton signed with Medi Bayreuth in Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga.
Stockton spent a lot of time in Utah as a kid, but didn’t see all of Utah. He said he was excited for the chance to “see the places I’ve never been and to see the fan base.”
He praised the devotion of Utahans to their hometown team and their level of excitement after the success the team had last year.
After the Monticello clinic, Stockton planned to return to Moab for the day and visit Arches National Park.
Trim said there was a good turnout to the clinic and praised Stockton’s courtesy.
“Any time a pro sports team is willing to send players out, we’re happy to work with them and accommodate them,” he said. “Every player they’ve sent out has been polite and courteous, so we’re always happy to keep up the program.”
Former Jazz Guard David Stockton plays ball with local youths