Turns out there are dumb questions, says Bone

SEATTLE – Ken Bone can't say enough good things about Brock Motum. Usually, that is...

Even Bone drew the line the other day when a media type asked the Washington State basketball coach if anyone can stop his star forward.

"That's a dumb question," Bone declared. "Of course people can stop Brock. I mean, when you let him touch the ball every third pass, he's going to score a lot."

Indeed, Motum is skyrocketing toward the top 10 in career scoring at WSU, even though he's only been a full-time starter the past 1 1-2 seasons. One year after leading the Pac-12 Conference in scoring with 19.8 points per game, Motum again leads the league at 20.4, which would rank fifth in WSU history.

"My teammates have been helping me out by giving the ball in good spots," the modest Australian said. "They know where to hit me. They're hitting shots, which allows teams not to just all sag into the key, so I've just been lucky."

Lucky, eh? Not too many players are ever "lucky" enough to score 23 or more points per game in five straight games, which is the streak Motum carries into tonight's annual Seattle "home" game at KeyArena against Buffalo (7:30, Pac-12 Networks).

"He's really, really good," Jackson (Miss.) State coach Tevester Anderson said last week after Motum dropped 27 on the Tigers. "He hit us inside, outside, the whole deal. He knows how to post up. He's got good hands. He'll play on weekends and Sundays (in the NBA) some time soon."

Gonzaga coach Mark Few recently predicted Motum will be "an 11-, 12-year NBA guy." However, ESPN.com and DraftExpess.com rank the top 100 prospects for the 2013 NBA draft, and Motum isn't on either list.

"That's OK," Motum insists. "That's fine with me. I don't think it's up to those guys. They just write about what they see. Unfortunately, we're not on TV (major networks) a lot, like ESPN, and we're not always playing in the big games, so they probably don't see us play a lot, especially down in Pullman."

Motum is well aware that Klay Thompson, the most recent NBA draft pick out of Washington State, was taken 11th overall in 2011 after being ranked significantly lower (or not at all) in most early draft projections.

"If that's any indication of accuracy," Motum said, "then that's OK with me."

Bone occasionally chides Motum to bolster his defense and rebounding. The coach is quick to point out that the 6-foot-10, 245-pounder has made wholesale improvements in both areas since he arrived at WSU as a gangly freshman.

"He's gotten stronger, and he plays stronger," Bone said. "It's one thing to gain strength, it's another thing to actually play stronger. He's not just a beast on the court, but he does play much stronger than people probably realize."

Motum benefits on offense from playing a European-style game. In other words, he can bang down low or drill jump shots, including 3-pointers.

"He's crafty," Idaho coach Don Verlin said. "He's really good at using his body. He's just a good enough shooter that he makes you extend your defense. He's got a lot of moves."

Motum made the move to the United States to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. He's benefited from being the focal point of WSU's offense the past two seasons, but he's quick to praise his teammates for feeding him the ball, and his own playmaking skills have improved markedly.

Motum, a psychology major with "around a 3-point" grade-point average, is the only Pac-12 player among the 30 players nominated for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in college basketball. The award honors players who succeed on and off the court, and Bone said he's grateful to coach players like Motum and Mike Ladd, WSU's other senior.

"It's nice to have guys like Brock and Mike," Bone said. "No maintenance. I mean, not like normal maintenance, or a little maintenance.

"No, it's zero maintenance. They've got the right attitude. They bring the right work ethic and attitude to the court, to team meetings. They represent our program well. They're just really good kids."

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