Ryan Broekhoff’s basketball career proves the old saying “hard work pays off” to be true.
Broekhoff, born and raised in Victoria, Australia, began to demonstrate his talent for the sport while playing at the prestigious Australian Institute of Sport. He played well enough there to get an offer from Valparaiso University, a small D-1 school and a then-member of the Horizon League, in 2009. Broekhoff stepped into a starting role for the Crusaders his sophomore year and would quickly become a star for the team. He ended his junior year averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 49% from the field and 39% from behind the 3-point line, all which is why he was named Horizon League Player of the Year. His senior campaign yielded similar results, and Broekhoff even had Valpo dancing in March with a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Despite going undrafted in 2013, Broekhoff’s basketball career was not even close to finished. He spent two years playing in Turkey before signing a three-year deal with PBC Lokomotiv Kuban of the VTB United League, the top basketball league in Russia. Here is where Broekhoff really established himself as a professional basketball player, averaging 18 points and 4 rebounds in the VTB United League, and helped Lokomotiv Kuban reach the EuroCup Finals in 2018.
Broekhoff has also had success on the international stage as a member of Australia’s National Basketball Team. Most recently, he averaged 7 points and 3 rebounds on the Australian team that fell one point away from medaling in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
His continued basketball success around the world has finally led him to this moment: last week, Broekhoff was signed to a two-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks worth $2.4M, and most importantly, an earned opportunity to play in the NBA.
Over the weekend, I got a chance to talk to Broekhoff about his career and how he developed into being an NBA player. Check it out below:
Bryce Fields: First, I just have to ask – how does it feel to officially be in the NBA? Has this always been your dream as a basketball player?
BF: Let’s look back at your career to see how you ended up achieving your goal of being in NBA, starting with your time at Valpo. How did your four very successful years there shape your future basketball career?
BF: So after college basketball, you headed overseas, playing in Turkey and the past three years in Russia. How was your first taste of professional basketball, and how did you continue to find success?
BF: You are also a member of Australia’s Men’s National Basketball team. How has your international experience been, especially with the success Australia had had recently?
BF: How does it feel to be a part of the surge of Australian-born players to enter the NBA? Is there anything you can attribute to this recent success?
BF: Now that you will be joining the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA, what are you most excited for?