Men’s basketball: Ryan Broekhoff busy finishing degree, working out, preparing for a pro career
By Michael Osipoff email@example.com/@MichaelOsipoff April 26, 2013 5:56PM
Valparaiso's Ryan Broekhoff runs out onto the court for their NCAA Tournament game at The Palace in Auburn Hills Thursday morning. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 29, 2013 7:55AM
VALPARAISO — Working on his game twice a day, five days a week.
Lifting weights four days a week.
Completing his coursework as he remains on track to graduate, with commencement on May 19.
Such has been the schedule for Ryan Broekhoff, the now-former Valparaiso star, since the Crusaders’ special season ended a little more than a month ago with an NCAA tournament loss to Michigan State, as he prepares for the next phase of his life and career.
“It’s been busy, that’s for sure, but it’s been fun at the same time,” said Broekhoff, who for about the last two weeks also has been ill — after a season in which he dealt with mononucleosis and several nicks, including a hip problem — with the most noticeable symptom being that he barely has a voice. “It’s sort of an exciting time.”
Earlier this month, for the better part of a week, Broekhoff participated in the Portsmouth Invitational, an annual event in Virginia at which 64 of the top seniors in the country gather for a showcase that’s typically attended by officials from every NBA team. His team won the tournament title, as he averaged 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 21.3 minutes over three games, including two starts.
“It was a great experience,” said Broekhoff, who shot 7-of-19 from the field, including 3-of-12 from 3-point range.
“It was good to see that my game translates to the next level. I was able to get my name and face out there to scouts who may or may not have seen me play during my career at Valpo, and show people how I might fit into one of their systems. It was a learning experience. I was happy with the way I played. Obviously, I would’ve liked to have done better. But the feedback I’ve gotten has been pretty positive.”
About a week ago, Broekhoff decided on an agent, hiring Priority Sports, the Chicago-based firm founded and owned by the prominent Mark Bartelstein (Broekhoff’s primary representative is Brad Ames). The selection process, and choice, could be indicative of his promising prospects.
“There were some really good agencies wanting my services,” Broekhoff said. “It was tough to choose one over the others, because all of them are really good at what they do. I was lucky enough that they wanted to work with me, and I feel really good about working with the people at Priority Sports.”
This weekend, he was planning to head to Chicago to meet with the agency’s strength and conditioning coach, and to undergo various tests.
“It’s just getting their plan, and seeing what I need to work on to maximize my opportunities,” said Broekhoff, who will be traveling back and forth between the city and campus until graduation (with his degree in exercise science), which he admits will be an “emotional” event.
Of course, Broekhoff remains steadfastly focused on reaching the NBA. But it’s clear he’s likely to have a long and prosperous professional career, in some form or fashion. As a “fallback,” Europe is an option — aiding that possibility, he also holds a Dutch passport, with his father, Wilm, having been born in the Netherlands, meaning he wouldn’t be considered an “import” — and returning to his native Australia could be a possibility.
“The NBA is definitely the goal,” said Broekhoff, who had yet to hear if he has been invited to the NBA Draft Combine in mid-May in Chicago. “That’s what I want to do right now, and that’s what I’m working toward. I’m putting all my effort into that.
“I spoke to a couple teams down there (at Portsmouth), very informally, and hopefully I’ll get some individual workouts. All it takes is for one team to see you fit in their system. Obviously, it’s an uphill battle to get there, but I’m doing everything I can to put my best foot forward.”