Dallas Mavericks Forward Ryan Broekhoff Talks About Signing in the NBA, His Time at Valparaiso, and Rise of Australian Basketball

Broekhoff, who recently signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks, has had basketball success all over the world. - courtesy Basketball Austrailia

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?

Ryan Broekhoff: It feels unbelievable, really. (Being in the NBA) has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. It still feels surreal.

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?

RB: Valpo was an amazing place for me to grow not only as a basketball player, but as a man. It allowed me time to develope and improve for all four years. It helped shape me into who I am today and I am forever grateful for the opportunity.

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?

RB: Overseas basketball was another step up from college, one where I had to adjust to playing against grown men and experienced, smart players. The pace of the game also went up so it was a fun experience learning and adapting to the new style, I was able to slowly improve each season and work on different parts of my game. There were lots of ups and downs but the experience made me a better player

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?

RB: Playing for the Australian National team has been a dream of mine since a child. Representing my country at the Olympics was something I will never forget. Those experiences of playing at major international events such as the Olympics and World Championships and having to play against the best players in the world was a great learning experience for me. Playing well during those tournaments gave me great confidence in myself.

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?

RB: It’s amazing to join the Australian population in the NBA. Those guys and Australians before them really paved the way for me. Australia is a basketball-loving country and has enormous amounts of talent coming out of there and great coaches to help nurture that talent.

BF: Now that you will be joining the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA, what are you most excited for?

RB: I’m really just excited to get to work with my teammates. To start the season and compete in the best league in the world.


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