Riley Stockton, the nephew of Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton, has been named the new executive director of the Spokane Hoopfest Association.
“It’s always been kind of a dream job for me,” Stockton said. “To be a part of this organization is a huge thrill and a huge honor.”
Hoopfest has been without an executive director since November when Matt Santangelo left for a job in the medical device sales industry. The massive 3-on-3 basketball tournament hasn’t taken place in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s scheduled to return June 25-26.
“We’re going to take every precaution necessary, but as of right now we are full-bore planning 100% on Hoopfest being back on the streets of Spokane,” Stockton said. “I think everybody’s clamoring to get back.”
Rick Betts, chairman of the Spokane Hoopfest Association board, said Stockton is a perfect fit for the job, not only because of his basketball background, but because of his work ethic.
The tournament only lasts two days, but the executive director has to plan the event all year long. Not everyone is well suited to spending their whole year organizing one weekend.
“It does take, I think, someone that can really kind of handle that environment and motivate themselves to work hard even though they might be doing something that could be done tomorrow or next week,” Betts said.
Stockton grew up playing in Hoopfests and estimates he’s played in at least 14, only missing them for eight years when he was in high school and college. Hoopfest has always been a family affair, Stockton said. He said that when he wasn’t playing he would constantly run around to different courts to watch his family members’ games.
Stockton first played in Hoopfest as a 6-year-old – he had to pretend to be 8 on the entry forms in order to play. He remembers his cousin David Stockton, who would go on to become a Gonzaga starter, giving a Hoopfest opponent the Dikembe Mutombo finger wave.
“That memory will be ingrained in me for life,” he said.
In addition to his personal Hoopfest experience, Stockton has earned a host of basketball accolades.
He played at Ferris High School before heading to Seattle Pacific University, where he graduated in 2015 with a degree in business administration.
While a Falcon, Stockton earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior and was twice named defensive player of the year in the Division II Greater Northwest Athletic Conference.
In 2013, the 6-foot-4 Stockton became the shortest player in history to lead the GNAC in rebounding. He ended his Seattle Pacific career with the most minutes played in school history.
After college, Stockton played two years professionally for CD Estela in Santander, Spain.
Off the court, Stockton has experience in event planning after working in operations and logistics for the Special Olympics in Washington.
In addition to putting together Hoopfest’s tournament, Stockton also will be overseeing the organization’s youth basketball programs. He said he hopes to grow the sport in Spokane.
“He understands what our organization’s doing with the youth,” Betts said. “He’s a great fit.”
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