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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Behind the Hoopfest poster: Stressful search started with Hull sisters, then to Cooper Kupp, then finally back to sisters again

By Dave Cook For The Spokesman-Review

The stars aligned. Or, more precisely, the bracket.

One of the first tasks for Riley Stockton in his new role as Hoopfest executive director was to get this year’s version of the always flashy, always treasured promotional poster produced. Plan A turned to Plan B, but as it turned out Plan A worked after all.

Central Valley High School and Stanford University standouts Lexie and Lacie Hull are this year’s highlighted athletes on the Hoopfest poster, which promotes the event June 25 and 26 on the streets of Spokane. The deadline for ensuring entry into the world’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament is May 15.

Initially, Riley and his staff pursued the Hull sisters, but had to go a different direction when schedules didn’t align. Their next plan to secure Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp also fell through following his MVP performance in the Super Bowl.

However, when the NCAA Tournament brackets came out in early March, their initial plan was revised. With a simple crossing of fingers that Stanford would win twice and advance to the regional round held in Spokane, their hopes of the “Hulls of Fame” actually came to fruition.

“With their busy schedules and playing on Sundays, it was hard to make it work,” Stockton explained. “We went a different route with the poster that ended up not working out. Then we saw the bracket, and prayed they got to the Sweet 16. They ended up doing that and we set up the photo while they were here.”

The photo of the sisters was taken at the Davenport Grand where the team was staying. “We had about 15 minutes – it was great,” said Stockton of having to get the approval of head coach Tara VanDerveer. “It was right after one of their film sessions so it was perfect. They were great with us.”

Lexie Hull was recently selected sixth overall in the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever, and both sisters had stellar careers for the Cardinal. Stanford won both games played at Spokane Arena, but this year’s hopes of repeating as NCAA champions came to an end in the Final Four when they lost to perennial powerhouse Connecticut.

“They are two of the best representatives of Spokane we could ask for,” praised Stockton, whose uncle is NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton. “They are ultra polite and easy to work with and are great basketball players and competitors. We were all so thrilled to have them on the poster. I don’t know if I would have been so generous with my time going into Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games. For them to do that means a lot to us at Hoopfest.”

The poster even has photos of the Hull sisters from their Hoopfest days as youths. Of course, they honed their championship ways on the streets of Spokane.

“There might not be two better people with better resumes in basketball, to tell you the truth,” added Stockton. “Go look at the poster and it has high school national champions, college national champions and five-time Hoopfest champions. There are very few people at the level they are at. We couldn’t be more excited to have them on our poster for sure.”

Christopher Gray was the photographer, and the poster was designed by Propaganda Creative in Spokane.

“We had ideas of what the poster should look like, but both of them blew our expectations out of the water,” praised Stockton. “We had some other good titles, but we needed one appropriate for the school association. We had ‘One Hull of a Ride,’ but we thought ‘Hulls of Fame’ was more appropriate.”