It all started innocently enough: 13-year-old Seth Hilton grabbed a bottle of rubber cement, a basketball, a video camera and formulated a plan. Hilton had seen former Washington star Jon Brockman's trick shot video and was ready to follow in his footsteps, creating his own video as a rebuttal to Brockman. Though Hilton wasn't technically eligible to enter the contest -- Brockman was looking for videos from Wisconsin residents -- he made the video in good fun for the local hero he looks up to.
Hilton didn't create the video for attention or notoriety, nor did he know Brockman would even take notice. It was just a kid having some fun, playing the game he loves and putting together a compilation of trick shots -- a few of which used a little fire to add flair. But Brockman did take notice and with a few keystrokes, Hilton became known worldwide. Through the magic of Twitter, and a quick tweet, Hilton's video spread like wildfire as Brockman sent it to his 300,000-plus followers.
Hilton and Brockman's stories intersect far before the trick shot video competition, though, and the seed for Hilton's video was planted years ago. When Brockman was in college, he hosted a Stanwood basketball camp with Ryan Appleby, also a former Washington basketball player. One of the attendees was Hilton, who can be seen sitting right next to Brockman in the camp picture, dwarfed by the big forward's size He still remembers the camp experience and used it to introduce his trick shot video.
But the story doesn't end there for Hilton or Brockman. Recently, the Stanwood youngster began playing AAU ball for Gary Doty, Brockman's high school AAU coach. Doty played a big role in Brockman's success, helping him strengthen his game and fix some of the weaknesses in his game through high school and during his time with the Washington Huskies -- the story of Brockman shooting hundreds of free throws a day under the watchful eye of Doty has become legendary in these parts. When it comes to AAU basketball in Snohomish County, there's not a name bigger than Doty.
In an email conversation with Hilton's mother, whom both Brockman and I owe an apology to for butchering Seth's last name, she shared a great story with me. Seth isn't one to brag about the video he made, nor did he tell anyone about it -- the video was created in good fun and he thought nothing of it. But after an open gym session with Doty, the coach told those in attendance to go home and watch Seth's trick shot video. How Doty found out the video, nobody was quite sure, but one can assume Brockman played a role in him discovering Hilton's hidden talents.
Though Brockman has made it big now, playing in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks, he stays tied to Snohomish and the Northwest. He remembers those roots and shows pride in his community while working to foster growth in the next generation. Seth Hilton is one of many Brockman has made an impact on, just by taking the time and giving back to the community. And he deserves to be lauded for his efforts.
In a world where we see athletes singled out for poor behavior -- be it arrests, embarrassing on-court displays or brash behavior off the court -- it's nice to see a local star doing the right things and leaving a lasting impression on the community he comes from. Brockman may have thought nothing of sending a tweet and recognizing Seth's video, but for a youngster growing up, it meant the world.
You can find both trick shot videos on the sidebar. Call me biased, but I prefer Seth's video. Job well done, kid, and keep up the good work.