Male Area Athlete of the Week: Stokman does it all for Rangers
Crosby-Ironton junior earns area athlete of the week
There is not much James Stokman doesn’t do on the basketball court.
The Crosby-Ironton junior leads the Rangers in points and assists. Last week, Stokman posted 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a win against Staples-Motley. He followed it with 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists against Detroit Lakes.
“I think we have been doing a good job of moving the ball and pushing in transition,” Stokman said. “We are getting the corners filled, looking for the ball and our bigs are doing a good job of setting screens and getting open that way.”
Stokman averages 15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists a game on 35% shooting and 31% from 3-point. He also swipes 1.6 steals a game.
“He’s kind of our glue,” C-I head coach Dave Galovich said. “He’s our point guard and runs the show. He’s a team player. He’s a guy who has the ability to make everyone else better. He’s one who certainly fills up the stat sheet for us.”
Stokman’s season high in scoring came on Feb. 21 when he registered 23 points in a loss to Esko.
He’s scored 22 points on three separate occasions, including most recently against Detroit Lakes. He’s tallied in double figures in all but three games.
“I think his scoring comes within our offense,” Galovich said. “He doesn’t force anything. He’s our leader in assists and his points come within our offense whether it’s knocking down a 3-pointer or attacking the basket.”
Stokman recorded a triple-double in C-I’s 87-81 win over Fond du Lac Dec. 29. Stokman finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. He recorded a near triple-double against Pillager Jan. 3 when he tallied 15 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.
He dished a season-high 15 assists against Park Rapids on Feb. 25. Against Park Rapids on Jan. 31, Stokman filled the stat sheet with 20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
“When you have a guy like that who can get near triple-doubles on any given night that shows the impact of how important they are to your team,” Galovich said.
Stokman stands 6-foot-3 and plays point guard for the Rangers which gives him a lot of versatility that Galovich likes.
“We will put him in the post at times,” Galovich said. “We run him at point guard then put him in the post and we utilize his height at 6-3. It's nice to have a perimeter player with that size.”
Stokman added: “I’ve grown a lot since last year, which has been super helpful in finishing around the rim and using my length on defense to contest shots and help the team that way.”
Galovich added Stokman shoots 80% from the free throw line which is great for late-game situations.
“He’s the guy we want at the free throw in a tight situation,” Galovich said.
Last year as a sophomore, Stokman averaged 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 27 games. He said he learned a lot playing with last year's senior Carsen Turk, who averaged 23 points per game last season.
“It was an exciting jump,” Stokman said. “I learned a lot from Carsen. He did a good job of mentoring me last year. It’s been cool to have the ball in my hands and doing my best to take care of it and distribute it to my teammates.”
One of the biggest areas Stokman said he tried to improve was his court vision and his defense.
“I think I’ve stepped into more of a leadership role, which has been good for our team,” he said. “It’s been good for me to be the guy people can look to. To get a bucket and make a tough shot. It’s been fun to get guys ready in games and someone they can look to.”
Stokman’s work ethic stands out to Galovich.
“He’s a kid who enjoys the game,” Galovich said. “He’s one where when he comes in the gym he always has a purpose and is always doing something and working at something to make himself better. He has fun putting in the extra time to improve his skills.”
C-I’s other guard, Jordan Mount, is also a junior. Stokman and Mount have built quite a tandem.
“They are a very good compliment,” Galovich said. “James handles the ball a little more and takes charge. When we give the ball to Jordan, he is a different type of player with an added burst of speed and quickness that not many players have. With James’ size and Jordan’s quickness, it’s a nice combination to have in your backcourt.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Isaiah Schultz, Staples-Motley, scored 25 points against Aitkin.
Andrew Martinson, Aitkin, scored 20 points against Staples-Motley.
Rian Struss, Pine River-Backus, scored 22 points against Swanville.
Christian Hooge, Pillager, recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds against Osakis.
Position: Point guard
Highlights: He posted 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists against Detroit Lakes. He recorded 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists against Staples-Motley.