Bone, Johnson fly to Brisbane, return happy

AFTER 13 HOURS in the air, Ken Bone and Ben Johnson landed in the living room of Brock Motum and his parents on Friday. They were hopeful, but uncertain, the long trip to Brisbane would end the way they wanted it to: With the 6-9 Australian standout reaffirming his commitment to play basketball at Washington State. The two coaches spent a couple of hours talking with the Motum family.

And the next day, Motum told them what they flew across the Pacific Ocean to hear. Brock Motum is coming to Pullman.

"For him to recommit to us is great for our program, great for Washington State," Johnson told CF.C in between flights back home. "At the end of the day, Brock really liked Coach Bone and felt comfortable with him, and his parents did too. This was a chance for him to get a feel, in person, for Coach Bone and to get a comfort level.

"The family had obviously done their research on Coach Bone and were very impressed with his track record as a coach, but when you're sending your son halfway around the world, you also want to make sure you're entrusting your son to a good man, a quality person."

Johnson, who had been WSU's point person in the recruitment of Motum, said Bone and Motum connected quickly. "He was very comfortable with Coach Bone. He likes the WSU campus and the college-town atmosphere of Pullman, so the combination was right."

Motum joins point Xavier Thames of Elk Grove, Calif., and swingman Anthony Brown of Spokane in deciding to stick with the Cougars. The lone member of the class who probably won't be coming to Pullman is 6-8 forward David Chadwick, a North Carolinian whose parents are long-time friends of Bennett's. He was recently released from his letter of intent by WSU.

With the graduation loss of a fellow Aussie, Aron Baynes, Motum's recommitment to WSU is great news for the Cougars' outlook in the post next season. Motum is mobile, yet hard-nosed, and can play several positions. He has nice shooting range and is an effective passer.

Motum comes to WSU from the same organization – the Australian Institute of Sport – that produced Baynes.

Baynes' deveopment at WSU -- on the court and in the classroom -- wasn't lost on Motum, who told CF.C last fall, "Aron, his success over there, encouraged me ... 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."

Motum earned his league's Player of the Year honors in the just-concluded season -- and the previous year he took home a National Player of the Year award. This past 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 two years ago, in the summer of '07, that he would be headed to WSU.

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.

NOTABLE: Like classmate Anthony Brown, Motum is a left-hander. Southpaws are no rarity for the Cougars. There were five on the team this past season – 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.

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