Brock Motum on the Boomers and basketball globetrotting
Brock Motum is the boy from Brisbane turned Boomer who continues to show that no matter how many times life doesn’t go to plan, you reset and bounce back in true Aussie fashion.
His career has spanned both the US College, Europe, and the NBL, with his dedication and commitment to the grind never wavering. The Pick and Roll spoke with the power forward about his career so far and what was to come.
“Not only have I learnt a lot in terms of skills across my career so far but the experience as a whole has really taught me a lot," explained Motum. "One of the biggest things is that basketball is so different in different countries and across the leagues.
"I’ve learnt that guys with big names don’t necessarily make it everywhere and it’s the guys that put in all the work and are persistent at getting better that are the guys who stick around to play high-level European leagues.
“I know that there are always the stars who go to the NBA, who are the big-time franchise kinda guys. You look through a lot of EuroLeague rosters and you won’t find many that went to big schools such as your Duke, UCLA or North Carolina. You find that they are the guys who know how to work, stay with it, and they end up having the longest career."
After attending Brisbane State High, Motum attended the AIS before heading to college at Washington State (2009–2013). Despite a standout career with the Cougars, he went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft. Since then he has had two NBA Summer League stints with the Philadelphia76ers and Utah Jazz, and while an elusive regular season NBA deal has not eventuated as yet, he has gone on to star in Europe and the NBL.
2016 was a breakout year for the Queenslander, becoming one of the team leaders with Lithuanian superpower Žalgiris Kaunas in the EuroLeague. During his time with Žalgiris, Motum won LKL championships in 2016 and 2017, and the KMT Cup in 2017 in a fruitful experience.
Brock Motum | Courtesy BC Zalgiris Kaunas
On 29 June 2017, he signed a one-year deal with Turkish club Anadolu Efes, which he continues to play for currently. We spoke about how he saw himself fitting within his team.
“My role, with this team, has been to come off the bench and provide a scoring spark. I’m obviously a shooter but I can score both inside and outside rather efficiently. So when I come in I try to be solid on defence and really try to break the game open with my scoring.
“Whether I start or I come off the bench at the four-or-five minute mark in the first quarter and I know I will have consistent minutes, it allows me to mentally prepare and get myself into a rhythm - it is what works for me. This year has taught me a lot while playing inconsistent minutes and also taught me how to prepare differently based on that. Taking all of that on board it has allowed me to really make my court time count.”
As shown in recent games, he has taken his efficient style of play and adapted it, along with his stronger skills, to show his ability to contribute to a team. Seven points in four minutes against Madrid recently an example of this.
With experience through different countries and leagues, he described how the leagues differed.
“Lithuanians are basketball purists and it shows throughout their league – everything is drawn up, structured to the tee from every play to every defensive situation that will occur. There isn’t much free-flowing basketball, you run your sets and exploit any mismatch.
"Especially from my time with Žalgiris, Sarunas Jasikevicius is the best basketball coach by far in all of Europe I think. His attention to detail and the way he prepares you by getting the best out of your strengths and minimising your weaknesses is amazing. Playing for him I learnt a lot.
“The NBA is a game where everybody is looking at the stats, there is no structure where the ball goes up and down with everybody shooting every ten seconds. The Turkish league is not as structured as the Lithuanian league and has a lot of foreigners, so it is a lot more up and down.
“The NBL is very up and down and is much more like the NBA – not very organised and you see big numbers being put up because you see more of those shots being made.”
With talent from our shores spreading internationally and showcasing their immense skills on the hardwood, I asked Motum what contributing factors really influenced this.
“I think it’s a testament to the coaching development we have had growing up in Australia playing basketball. To be a part of this golden generation of basketballers where we have talent throughout the NBL, NBA and in Europe also just shows how much the brand of Australian basketball is growing internationally.”
Motum is passionate about the green and gold. He first represented Australia in the 2009 FIBA Under-19 World Championship in Auckland, going on to play for the Boomers at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. It didn’t take long to understand what the honour meant to him.
“It means everything to me! It’s a tremendous experience to play for your country.
"The guys you play with are high level guys and they all love putting on the green and gold just as much as you do and understand what it represents. It makes you proud because you’re putting the country on your back and going out there to play for your family, friends and every Australian.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to go to the World Cup, the Olympics and my goal is to do that again in the coming years. I give everything I have when I play in the green and gold.”
When asked if he would be making himself available for Boomers duty for both the World Cup in Beijing (August 2019) and Tokyo Olympics (2020), the response was loud and clear for this passionate Aussie.
"Ever since that last game in 2016 [losing the bronze medal game to Spain], I think it still remains a bit sour the way it ended. We were so close, but hopefully we can take the next step and finally get that elusive medal for Australia.
"It’s not any different to any other game when I play for the Boomers because that will to win supersedes all of that, but it was definitely tough being a part of that game and group."
Having had the opportunity to play with so many teammates, I was interested in key individuals who had impacted or influenced him throughout his career.
“Kevin Pangos was a great teammate of mine when I was at Žalgiris," explained Motum.
"He is a point guard and now plays at Barcelona. We were rivals at college where he went to Gonzaga, and he was one guy who I remember as a great teammate.
“Anthony Petrie was a great teammate when I was in Adelaide. He is one of my favourite teammates throughout my career. Just a great guy on and off the court.”
He also mentioned Klay Thompson, a former teammate at Washington State, who had been influential throughout his career
For a player who has played across the globe at the highest level, Motum’s message for success was simple but one for all.
“Belief in yourself – when I was growing up I kept reminding myself that there was no other option. I wanted to play professional basketball and I set goals to reach that.
“Step-by-step you can see progress being made and once you make it you can see where you came from.”