Covering more ground with Jon Brockman
Posted by Jerry Brewer
REMINDER: I'll be hosting a live chat at 11 a.m. today in this blog. Check it out. We'll have a good time.
I caught up with Jon Brockman earlier this week to talk about his first season in the NBA, his new contract, his growing popularity and his upcoming basketball camp. In today's newspaper, I wrote a column about the Brockness Monster.
But with Brockman, who's as kind, articulate and interesting as any athlete you'll come across (and you could give a similar compliment about a lot of Lorenzo Romar's Huskies -- past, present and presumably future), one column couldn't capture it all. The Big Fella can't be contained in 820 words.
So here's a little more from the University of Washington great.
He was very open about the ups and downs of his rookie season. Brockman, who was recently traded from Sacramento to Milwaukee, averaged only 2.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 52 games, but he became a fan favorite, not surprisingly, because of all-out effort he gave. Brockman threw his body around for 12.6 minutes a game, which equates to a rate of 15.6 rebounds per 48 minutes (17th in the NBA last season, second among rookies).
But it wasn't an easy year. Brockman sprained the MCL in his right knee during a February practice and missed five weeks. It was a tough time for him. Despite his rugged style, he has been a durable basketball player through the years. Even worse, as a second-round pick in the 2009 draft, Brockman wasn't guaranteed to stay in the NBA longer than one year. He needed to keep making an impression, but here he was, injured and worried about whether he'd make it back before the end of the season.
"It was tough, especially when you have a one-year contract and you're hurt," Brockman said. "You think you're blowing your opportunity. I really wanted to get back and not end the season with a bad knee. But I couldn't rush it because, if you do that, it could nag you for the rest of your career. Fortunately, it was a sprained MCL and not something worse. I was lucky."
Brockman returned in March and played eight more games with the Kings. He was happy to survive his first season.
"It was really fun," Brockman said. "I really enjoyed it. It's a lot different and takes getting used to. You're never sure what's next. There were a lot of ups and downs, kind of like your freshman year of college.
"It's a shock to everyone how long that season is. I was getting told that in advance over and over, and it's really true. But you don't know how true it is until you experience it. It's a grind. It takes a lot of focus and attention to your body."
This offseason, Brockman sought more NBA security. He found it last week, but it meant he had to leave Sacramento. The Kings sent him to Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade deal for Darnell Jackson (who has an unguaranteed contract for next season) and a 2011 second-round pick. It enabled Brockman to sign a three-year, $3 million contract. He shouldn't have daily worries about his NBA future for a while.
Sure, he's not totally out of the woods. That's a modest contract, so he could always be cut and the Bucks would just eat the money. But Brockman would still get his $3 mil. It figures to be a moot point, anyway, because the Bucks are going to love Brockman. He's a perfect match for Bucks coach Scott Skiles.
"I think I'm definitely a Scott Skiles type of person," Brockman said. "He's a hard-nosed dude. He expects his players to play hard at all times. They're a good team. They made the playoffs last year and played well there without one of their best players, Andrew Bogut. So they're already great. I'm just doing to do whatever I can to help the team even more."
The Bucks are well-stocked at power, however. In addition to Brockman, they have Drew Gooden (the likely starter), Ersan Ilyasova (who can play either forward spot) and two intriguing rookies, Larry Sanders and Keith "Tiny" Gallon. But Brockman isn't worried about competition for playing time. He loves it. And Bucks GM John Hammond said Brockman could see some time at center, too.
"Coach Skiles told me he thought they were going to use me," Brockman said. "When there's more depth, there's more competition. And the harder the guys play, the better guys will get. I'm excited. Guys are all different, but the one thing I've noticed about the NBA is every guy has a specialty. Every guy has one thing they do very well. I know what mine is. I'm going to keep going to it."
The Jon Brockman Basketball Camp, which is for boys and girls ages 6 to 16, is Aug. 10-13 at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish. For more information, click here.
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