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Johnathan Motley: Previewing the 2017 Bears

Texas v Baylor Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

This is the fifth post in a series exploring Baylor basketball's roster for the 2016-2017 season. The series continues with a look at junior forward Johnathan Motley . You can read earlier posts on Ish Wainright, Jo Acuil , Al Freeman, and Terry Maston by clicking on the player’s last name.

Offensive Skills

Motley can do it all. He can score near the basket, in transition, and with his jumper. Combined with his excellent offensive rebounding, Motley has the tools to be the Big 12’s best big man.

Dominance at the Basket

Motley is a force at the basket. Last season, Motley converted 73.9% of his shoots at the rim, according to

The man has moves. Against Prince Ibeh, Motley steps around the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for a layup.

Once again, Motley scores against the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year below. Ibeh was a fantastic defensive player, but Motley’s not out of moves.

In the next clip, Motley forces Shaq Cleare away from the basket, then Motley uses the baseline for a nice layup.

Other times, Motley has no need to dance. He’s fine just shooting over defenders.

Transition Scoring

Motley also is a force in transition. Below, Motley began a career day in Ames as he scored 27 points on 13 of 14 shooting.

In the next clip, Motley starts out nearly even with Jameel McKay but beats him up court for the easy layup.

Motley did not leave his ability to run the floor in Ames. Against the Longhorns, Motley provided perhaps the best advice I can offer: keep your eye on anyone who wears a headband. Texas didn’t. Motley dunked.

Strong Jumper

Motley shot 50% on two-point jumpers last season. Motley’s range helps Baylor have better spacing and should clear the lane for Manu Lecomte to operate this season. With a strong jumper and incredible skill near the basket, Motley ended Big 12 play fourth in field goal percentage.

Offensive Rebounding

Rico Gathers had the #1 offensive rebounding rate last season, according to KenPom. That leaves a huge problem for Baylor, but Motley has been an excellent offensive rebounder. Last season, Motley finished 67th in offensive rebounding percentage

In this play against KSU, Motley uses his 6’9 frame and 7’4 wingspan to collect the rebound against two Wildcats.


Motley is not just a skilled offensive player. He’s started using his incredible talent to help the Bears defense.

Shot Blocking

Motley finished Big 12 play third in block percentage, according to KenPom. Motley uses excellent timing in the next clip to block D.J. Johnson’s shot.

If the Bears choose to play zone, Motley moves and recovers well. That’s essential in Baylor’s zone because players have to recover quickly, or they’ll leave players open from the perimeter.

Below, after blocking Johnson, Motley comes back and shuts down Dean Wade.

Defensive Rebounding

Motley is also a skilled defensive rebounder. He finished just outside the top ten in Big 12 play, but that’s also because Motley often played with other skilled rebounders.

Outlook for this Season

Johnathan Motley should be one of the best players in the Big 12. He can score in so many ways, and he gives the Bears a superb defender due to his shot blocking. If Motley has the kind of season many expect, he will be Baylor’s eighth selection in the NBA Draft since 2012. And if he decides to return for his senior year, the 2018 Final Four is in San Antonio.