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"The best pure
point guard
who ever
played
the game"
--Charles
Barkley


 
Dan Fitzgerald
Stockton's coach at Gonzaga University

Bound to be a Bulldog: The recruiting of John Stockton to Gonzaga was presumably a slam dunk. After all, he'd gone to grade school up the street at St. Aloysius and high school at Gonzaga Prep. He grew up four blocks from the campus. And yet, as Dan Fitzgerald insisted, he sweated it out as much as if Stockton had been a McDonald's All-American from another time zone.

‘‘For one thing, his dad made sure no favorites were played,” said Fitzgerald, the head coach at the time. ‘‘I remember him sitting us down at the kitchen table during the home visit because he said, `That's where we did it with other guys.' If anything, I think he went the other direction to make sure Gonzaga wasn't getting an advantage, because of his ties.”

Stockton also was courted by Montana, Seattle Pacific and -- something of a late entry -- Washington State. He made his oral commitment on Easter Sunday, phoning Fitzgerald with the news.

‘‘Coach, I've made a decision,” he said. ‘‘I'm going to Montana.”

At which point Fitzgerald's heart sank.

‘‘When you play over there next year.”

 
 
   

Utah Jazz guard John Stockton, right, looks to pass against pressure from Dallas Mavericks guard Steve Nash during an April game in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson)
 
 


 
 
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