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First Impressions: Brock Motum

The second biggest story to come out of Washington State's 78-60 win over Arizona this Saturday (behind the defensive effort) may have been the first extended action for freshman Brock Motum.  He had been almost exclusively limited to mop-up minutes until Abe Lodwick came down with an apparent illness on Saturday, forcing Motum into the lineup.

When Brock was in the game, he was very involved on the offensive side of the ball.  He was active in cuts, screens, and crashing the offensive glass.  After the jump, I break down each of the Cougar possessions that ended with Motum (Turnovers, field goal attempts, free throw attempts) and provide some analysis on the impact he provided.

1st half, 14:24 Motum flashes to the elbow off a screen from Steven Bjornstad, makes a nice drop step and one dribble towards the basket and misses a finger roll.

1st half, 1:57 Motum sets a hard screen (Brock sets very good screens!) for Klay Thompson, then is given a forearm shove by the Arizona defender.  He goes to the free throw line and hits both.

1st half, 1:06 Klay dribbles to the top of the key and attracts the attention of the Arizona defense.  Motum cuts backdoor, completely losing his defender, and finishes with a one-handed dunk.

2nd half, 15:17 Motum catches the ball at the top of the key, drives left towards the basket and misses a wild layup from the block.

2nd half, 14:46 Motum cuts from the top off a great screen from DeAngelo Casto, goes up for the dunk and is blocked, but is able to get the ball on the rim and finish the layup.

2nd half, 11:44 Motum dribbles to his right from the top of the key, gets a great screen from James Watson, and buries a 17 foot jumper.

2nd half, 10:00 Klay drives to the right and attracts help defense, Motum cuts backdoor and receives the bounce pass for an easy layup.


It's pretty easy to see this kid is a savvy basketball player.  He uses screens very effectively, leaving no space between he and the screener (As a side note, the Coug big men were destroying Arizona defenders on screens all game long, well done guys).  He also times his cuts very well.  It's one thing to be active on the offensive end, anyone can do that, but to know when exactly is the perfect time to flash to the ball is something that comes with experience and practive.  Apparently at a place called "Australian Institute of Sport" they teach sports!  Who knew?

On the shots that Brock missed, both were a clearly effected by his defender being stronger.  This will come in time, but the moves he made to get to the rim were fantastic.  He has a great first step for a 6-9 guy.  In the future, he is either going to force teams to put smaller, quicker players on him and risk the height disadvantage, or put a big guy on him and be faced with the possibility of him driving to the basket at will.  He definitely has some very exciting offensive prospects, especially with a little extra muscle.  That jumper looks pretty nice as well.

So this guy sounds perfect right?  Throw him in the fire for 25 minutes a game now Coach Bone! 

Not quite.  You absolutely cannot ignore the fact that he did not pull down a defensive rebound in 17 minutes of action.  He was playing Abe Lodwick's minutes at the four, and Abe is usually effective on the glass.  Brock should have had the same opportunities and he didn't convert.  This has a lot to do with the aforementioned strength defecit, but some guys are just better at others at putting themselves into position for rebounds.  Something to improve on for Mr. Motum, who is after all, still a freshman.

So what should Ken Bone do with Motum in these last ten games or so?  Obviously, his abilities on the offensive end should get him some minutes.  His lack of rebounding makes it hard to throw him out there at the power forward position for extended time.  I would like to see him get some quick spurts off the bench as sort of a "spark plug" type guy.  This will still give him some crucial experience against Pac 10 athletes while not hurting what already is a below average defensive and defensive rebounding team.

With all that being said, Coug fans should be excited about what Brock Motum has to offer for the next 3+ seasons at Washington State.  He is a potential matchup nightmare with a polished offensive game.

Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie!