#12 / Forward / Washington St. Cougars
Australia Institute of Sport
This is the next in our continuing series of WSU basketball player profiles. A full list of profiles to date is on the left side of the main page.
Scouting Report: Motum is skinny. Really skinny. Like Robbie-Cowgill-when-he-first-came-to-Pullman-skinny.
(Really, I've just been looking for an opportunity to use that picture.)
But what Motum lacks in bulk, he certainly more than makes up for in skill and savvy. He's got a strong face-up game, a good midrange jumper, and reportedly can even step out to occasionally stroke a 3-pointer. Offense will not be an issue in the transition to the college game for Motum. He's as skilled and versatile a big man as we've seen in Pullman perhaps since this guy was still playing hoops.
And just because he's skinny doesn't mean he can't rebound; he did average about 4.5 rebounds in about 20 minutes a game playing for Australia in the FIBA U-19 tournament. Interestingly, he had more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds, a trait that should serve him well in an offensive system that places a premium on crashing the glass.
However, it remains to be seen if Motum can truly bang with the big boys down low defensively. If this team had an Aron Baynes in the middle, that would be one thing. But the Cougs are woefully thin up front, and Motum is going to have to play inside at least occasionally. Whether he can use his length and skill to his advantage against bigger players as that other skinny guy did before him remains to be seen. If he can get his defensive rebounding percentage up around 17 or 18 percent and get his offensive rebounding percentage up around 10 percent, he'll be a smashing success.
The good news? In a drum we'll be beating repeatedly over the next couple of months, this is hardly a banner year for big men in the Pac-10, with virtually every ounce of accomplished beef leaving last spring.
Best Case Scenario: Motum is everything we knew he would be offensively, but he's a revelation on defense. His savvy allows him to fluster stronger players on defense, as well as irritate them with his ability to get to the offensive glass. He becomes a 25-minute a night player and entrenches himself in the lineup next to DeAngelo Casto.
Worst Case Scenario: The jump from U-19 international ball to big-time college basketball is a shock to Motum's system. The physicality bothers him, and he begins to shy away from contact on both ends of the floor. He settles for too many jumpers and gives up too many easy baskets en route to finding his way to the bottom of Ken Bone's rotation.
Likely Scenario: The physicality of the college game is something that takes some getting used to, and he settles for a lot of perimeter looks early on. He also picks up too many cheap fouls because he's simply not strong enough to hold his ground. But his confidence grows as the season goes on, and he becomes a solid contributor with a bright future.