Recruiting: Aussie tells why he'll be a Coug

TONY BENNETT'S affinity for left-handers will grow by 6-feet-9-inches when basketball letters of intent are signed on Nov. 12, one week from today. The Land Down Under, which sent 6-10 Aron Baynes to WSU four years ago, will be exporting another tough-nosed big man to Cougarville in 2009. Brock Motum tells Tony Bennett and the WSU staff made all the difference, and did so long ago.

"I'm looking forward to coming over to play there. I'm just excited about it. At the moment, I'm focusing on things down here but I'm really happy with my decision to come to Washington State," said Brock Motum, a 6-9, 215-pound power forward originally from Brisbane.

Like Aron Baynes, he verbally committed to the Cougs without visiting campus.

"It was just the way Tony Bennett coaches. He was the Coach of the Year and my style of play fit the way he coaches. It just seemed the right fit and it's the right sized college," said Motum.

Motum said the down to earth quality of the entire Wazzu coaching staff, and the success of Baynes, played a critical role.

"They just seemed really genuine in their interest. I know a lot of the other college coaches can seem genuine but the way they came across was they put my development first before their egos. Even though Tony got the National Coach of the Year I thought he was humble and, I don't know the right word -- professional -- about it. He really cares about his players and their development," said Motum.

"Aron, his success over there encouraged me as well...I had seen him (in Australia) and what he played like before he went over and now -- the way he's developed his game and the way he's playing now, it's impressive what he's done."

Also like Baynes, Motum's talents carried him to the Australian Institute of Sports, where he earned his league's Player of the Year honors in the just-concluded season -- the previous year he took home a National Player of the Year award. This season, he averaged 15.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He shot 57 percent from the field, and made 13 of 29 three-pointers.

Australia is no longer the hoops secret it once was, but Motum also didn't get the same number of looks playing Down Under he would have plying his wares in the U.S. And by the time he did start getting late looks, he had long since made the decision to go crimson -- Motum said he made up his mind a year and a half ago, in the summer of '07, that he would be headed to WSU. "I didn't want to make a big deal about it, just wanted to get the job done here before I focused on anything in the future."

Motum, who just turned 18, has outstanding athleticism and a great motor. The combination makes for a hard-nosed style and a nice shooting touch, and range.

Motum, who comes across on an international call as the consummate team player, one loathe to talk about his individual accomplishments, said his AIS coach is the reason he's the player he is today, and that he sees Bennett as someone who embodies the same qualities as Marty Clarke.

"Marty, he's the best coach I've ever had and he cares about your (basketball) development and how you develop as a person. He finds a way to balance it out really well...he doesn't want you to sort of get too far ahead of yourself," said Motum.

On his Australian Institute of Sports bio page, Motum states that his two major goals in sports are to represent Australia in the Olympics and to play in the NBA.

The numbers can and do change all the way up until Signing Day and basketball has two -- one on Nov. 12 and one later this spring. So Motum fills the fourth and possibly final scholarship slot for the 2009 recruiting class but until the LOI's come in next spring, you can't say with certainty that Bennett is done for '09. The other three spots in this class belong to 6-5 shooting guard Anthony Brown of Spokane's Shadle Park; 6-3 Xavier Thames, the No. 19-ranked prep point guard in the nation, of Elk Grove, Calif.; and 6-8 forward David Chadwick of Charlotte, N.C.

All four are expected to ink letters of intent during the early signing period that runs from Nov. 12-19.

Like Brown, Motum is a left-hander. Southpaws are no rarity for the Cougars. There are five of them on the team currently – Taylor Rochestie, Nikola Koprivica, Abe Lodwick, Marcus Capers and Nick Witherill. In addition, Baynes is an honorary lefty. He shoots mostly with the right hand, but fires up an occasional hook from the south side. He also writes with his left hand.

Bennett, himself a lefty, once joked that his goal was to field a club entirely of southpaws.

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