Maybe it's that his team didn't get much TV exposure last year. Maybe it's that his game is more substance than style.
Either way, Washington State forward Brock Motum enters his senior season as one of the Pac-12's best-kept secrets despite averaging 18.0 points and shooting almost 40 percent from behind the arc last season.
Motum may not toil in obscurity much longer, however, if his play during Washington State's exhibition tour of his native Australia is any indication.
The 6-foot-10 senior-to-be scored at least 21 points in all five of the Cougars' games, a brilliant eight-day stretch highlighted by his 41-point onslaught Tuesday in an 86-81 loss to Cairns Taipans. Motum sank 13 of 19 shots from the field and sank 12 of 16 foul shots before fouling out late in the fourth quarter, helping Washington State claw back from a double-digit first-half deficit to make a game of it.
What made the week even more exciting for Motum was he got to introduce his college teammates to some of his favorite spots in his home country. Furthermore, Motum had a large contingent of friends and family at Monday night's 77-66 loss to his hometown Brisbane Spartans.
"A lot of the crowd tonight at the game was either my family or friends, which was a nice homecoming to see so many of them come out and support us," Motum wrote on the team's blog on the Washington State athletics site. "The stadium was about 10-15 minutes away from my house so the majority of the stands were full of people I knew."
The return of Motum and fellow senior Reggie Moore have folks at Washington State cautiously optimistic that next season's team could challenge for a top-six Pac-12 finish. Motum and Moore will form a potent one-two punch, but they'll need role players to fill in holes around them.
Guard DaVonte Lacy must improve his ball handling and erratic outside shooting. Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge and oft-injured Mike Ladd also need to make an impact in the backcourt. And Australian big man James Hunter, a late recruit for Ken Bone and his staff, must be ready to contribute to give Washington State frontcourt depth behind Motum and D.J. Shelton.
The success Washington State assistant Ben Johnson has enjoyed recruiting Australia recently provides one more reason why Motum's big numbers this week may prove fruitful. Any potential recruits in Australia who watched Motum excel at Washington State may now find it easier to imagine trading the warm weather of the Land Down Under for the frozen tundra of the Palouse.