Stockton a 'target' in senior year

Glasgow's Brandon Stockton is off to a super start to his senior year despite increased attention by opposing defenses...

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- If a defense has been designed to target a guard, chances are Brandon Stockton has seen it.

"Basically, there's a guy on me wherever I go," Glasgow's all-state point guard said with a chuckle. "We played this New Albany team out of Indiana, and it seemed like they were everywhere. Sometimes they had three or four players on me.

"I've seen just about every defense: man-to-man, double-teams, triple-teams, chasers... I could be standing out in the middle of the court not doing anything, and there's always somebody guarding me."

Glasgow's Brandon Stockton: No. 1 on his jersey, and among players in the Bluegrass State.

Such is the life for a University of Kentucky signee and frontrunner for Kentucky Mr. Basketball honors.

One would expect such tactics to frustrating up to a point, but Stockton shrugs it off as "part of the game."

"I'm getting used to it," he said. "That's when you have to trust your teammates to step up and make big plays, and I don't hesitate to give them the ball and let them take a shot."

Stockton, who is averaging 27 points and six assists through five games,  was showcased this weekend in Lexington as his Scotties faced Madison Central in the Adolph Rupp Classic at Memorial Coliseum. The 5-foot-10 guard poured in 26 points, but it wasn't in typical fashion as foul trouble, shadowing defense by the Indians, and an off-shooting night from behind the arc kept him from having an even bigger game.

"There's no way you can stop him,'' Madison Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. "Just contain him, and holding him under 30 is containing him.''

Stockton picked up three fouls in the first half --- two on questionable charges which negated baskets and drew a chorus of boos from the blue-clad UK fans in attendance --- and did not make it to the foul line for the first time he could recall.

"I was a little hesitant to drive after that. I didn't want to pick up my fourth and have to sit the bench for a long time," he said. "...And I didn't have my usual jump shot, so it was a so-so night for me."

Stockton finished 12-of-27 from the field and 2-for-12 from long range. He denied that playing in front of the large crowd of UK onlookers --- including Wildcat coaching staff --- was a distraction.

"Nah," he said. "I didn't really think about that. I was just trying to get my team a win. I missed some easy ones that usually go in."

Stockton had a similar outing earlier this year against New Albany, the second-ranked team in Indiana, but compensated by going 8-for-8 at the foul line en route to a 31-point effort. He's shooting over 90 percent at the line this year, one of many impressive skills that led UK coach Tubby Smith to offer a scholarship during Stockton's junior season.

Stockton drives by a defender.

Glasgow coach Bart Flener said his star player has continued to improve his overall game since signing with the Cats in November.

"He's been in the weightroom some, gotten stronger, and keeps on working on his shooting," Flener said. "Mainly, just playing. He loves the game."

"Coach has been trying to beef me up a little bit," he said. "I think they're doing a good job with me, setting me up some individual workouts."

Flener predicted Stockton could be even more dangerous on the college level, surrounded by the type of talent he'll join at UK.

"His ability to handle the ball and create (is his main strength)," he said. "On the next level, he's only going to have one guy guarding him... It's hard for people to stay in front of him. He can go by just about anyone."

Stockton said he's glad to have his college decision out of the way so he can concentrate on leading the Scotties.

"It's nice not having to worry about who's in the stands, who's watching you," he said. "I know I have a home to go to next year, so I'm just trying to be safe and not get hurt or anything."

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