If you’re anything like me, you don’t possess the world’s most detailed and intimate knowledge of the names and relative talents of high school basketball players in the state of Utah. It is good, then, that there are people like Andy Larsen of KSL.com who are looking out for our interests and trying to make sure that we all get the most important scoops about the Beehive State’s best and brightest.
Like, for example:
This is Stockton Malone Shorts. He's the best player in the highest level of Utah high school ball this year. Yes, that's really his name. pic.twitter.com/RXRqcKGchO
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) February 28, 2017
“Stockton Malone Shorts.” I am … intrigued.
You’re not going to believe this, but a child born in Utah having first and middle names that also happen to be the last names of legendary Utah Jazz pick-and-roll John Stockton and Karl Malone is not a coincidence.
Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune related the story in February of 2015:
Label him a child of the Dream Team, because an exhibition contest during the U.S. Olympic basketball team’s preparation for the 1996 Games became his christening moment — more than two years before his birth to Rylan and Kelly Shorts.
Stockton’s parents attended that game vs. China in Phoenix, where they lived, wearing USA jerseys. They were walking down the street when a van stopped and the driver beckoned them. As they approached the vehicle, out stepped John Stockton, Karl Malone and Jerry Sloan, who chatted with them and signed autographs.
That explains how their first-born son would have immortalized names. The episode “kind of left us speechless,” said Kelly Shorts, who understood her future husband’s loyalty to the Jazz. “That kind of sold me.” […]
Stockton Shorts wants to go as far as he can in basketball. His parents hope he lives up to his name in a broader sense of being humble and hard-working and not making excuses, on or off the court. That’s what they’ve tried to teach him about being named Stockton Malone. As Kelly Shorts said, “It wasn’t just that we’re crazy, fanatical fans.”
Sure. I bet that part didn’t hurt, though.
As luck would have it, your man Stockton Malone Shorts has developed into a ballplayer himself. The 6-foot-4-inch, 205-pound senior entered Utah’s 5A state playoffs averaging 23.3 points per game for the Copper Hills High Grizzlies of West Jordan, Utah, and scored 17 points with seven rebounds to help lead his squad to a 62-41 win over Weber High School in the opening game of the state tournament. From Trevor Phibbs of the Salt Lake Tribune:
Copper Hills (20-4) ballooned its lead to as much as 24 midway through the third quarter behind Shorts, who scored a game-high 17 points while pulling down seven rebounds. Despite being a proven commodity his entire high school career, Shorts is the marquee name in this year’s tournament — a stage where he can solidify his status as a next-level player.
“I thought he’d be good this year, but I didn’t think he’d be this good,” Copper Hills coach Andrew Blanchard said about Shorts. “He’s really surpassed any expectations we’ve had.”
Which is saying something, because … y’know … he’s named after two Hall of Famers.
It remains to be seen where Shorts’ basketball journey goes from here; he told MaxPreps that “he’s had overtures from a few junior colleges,” so we could wind up hearing from him again at the collegiate level in the years to come. Whatever the future holds, though, we’ll always have this — this perfect moment, where we went from not knowing that there is a very good Utah high-school basketball player named Stockton Malone Shorts, to knowing about it, and feeling tremendous about the whole thing.
Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Shorts; thank you, Stockton; and thank you, Andy Larsen. Thank you all for this kindness, and good luck in the state tournament, my dude. We’ll be keeping an eye on you now, because … well, with a name like that, how could we not?
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