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Sammy Linebaugh ReportingAfter a near perfect season a local 8th grade basketball team is gunning for a shot at the national amateur title, and you could say they're getting some all-star help. NBA hall-of-famer John Stockton is back at the Jazz practice facility, but these days as a coach.
Take nothing away from head coach Jeff Myaer; he's brought a lot of the boys along since 5th grade. But ask them about Coach Stockton, who's been helping out the past few weeks, and it's pretty cool, they say, to learn from a guy they've idolized for so long.
Braden Brown: "Some of us have been playing together for three years, a couple of us have been playing together for two years, and we just added a couple new guys this year."
Among them is Mike Stockton, son of the 19 year Jazz legend.
Michael Stockton: "It's just five guys on the court playing as a team, and nobody's really selfish. Everyone passes the ball around until we get an open shot or a lay-up, and that's our secret."
What millions have marveled at for almost two decades, 14-year-old Mike and his teammates are now experiencing in person.
Jaxon Myaer, Coached by Stockton: "We'll scrimmage him. He won't lose, even to us."
And they say, he won't put up with any loafing.
Braden Brown: "He goes ‘hey guys, we can just run the whole time if you want to.’ He goes ‘we don't have to be practicing out here, we'll just run 17's the whole time.’"
Mike Stockton: "He got it from his grade school coach, like the conditioning part. His grade school coach ran him all the time and he told you guys that's what you need to do if you want to be good. Yeah."
These 8th graders seem to have that hustle thing figured out. In 50 games this past season they've only lost three times -- twice against 9th grade teams. And in February they defeated a Houston amateur team ranked 5th in the nation at the 14 and under level.
Now as they prepare for the national amateur tournament in Orlando, Florida, just two weeks away, Coach Myaer says having the former NBA star freed up to help might be just the thing that puts his team over the top.
Jeff Myaer: "There's an expression out there, ‘John's probably forgot more than I know about basketball.’ So when John's watching practice or watching a game, it seems they give a little extra effort because John's watching."
All these boys are very disciplined. They’re really an impressive group brought together from several different junior high schools.