John Wall Holiday Invitational: Tai Strickland, son of NBA great Rod Strickland, is a rising star

RALEIGH, N.C. – Just after he’d helped Tampa Catholic (Fla.) knock off a pesky Cary (N.C.) squad Tuesday night at the John Wall Holiday Invitational, Crusaders point guard Tai Strickland knew he’d have to answer a few key questions from his dad.

“He’ll want to know about my turnovers and whether I was getting my teammates involved and about my passing,” said Strickland, a junior. “Oh and my shot; he always worried about my jump shot. He just wants me to be the best I can be.”

Makes sense since there were times in Strickland’s father Rod’s 17-year NBA career when he was the best. Rod led the league in assists (10.5) during the 1997-98 season with the Washington Wizards. He also pumped in 17.8 points a game that year in route to being selected to the All-NBA second team.

These days, Rod is an assistant at South Florida, the lone school who has offered Tai so far.

“He doesn’t want me to be him or be like him,” Tai said. “He’s not pushy or anything like that. He knows there’s some pressure there, but he doesn’t put it on me.”

As for Tai’s shot that Rod is always asking about?

He scored 22 points in the win Tuesday night.

“He’ll be happy about that,” Tai said with a laugh. “More than anything he loves to hear that we won. That’s how he was when he played. That’s what we’re here to do. That’s my only goal, leaving with the championship.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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