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Jumping for Jois

Venky Jois playing College Basketball for East Washington. Credit: East Washington

Venky Jois playing College Basketball for East Washington. Credit: East Washington

When we talk about Australian basketballers, our minds immediately jump to the likes of Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles and a host of other international stars we’ve produced over the years.

One of those names, however, is not that of Eastern Washington University standout Venky Jois.

While he might not be known to many Aussies, his recent performances have ensured he’s certainly well known to American college basketball experts and fans.

Rewind two years, to when Jois was completing his final year at Box Hill High School in Melbourne, while getting it done on the hardwood in the South East Australian Basketball League.

He was named the 2011 Youth Player of the Year, an award that has been presented to the likes of NBA players Bogut and Mills.

Jois was then awarded the Bob Staunton 2012 U-20 National Championship MVP (Mills was the recipient of the same award in 2006 and 2007) after leading the Victoria State Team to the national championship and an unbeaten record.

His team defeated South Australia 67-58 in the championship game.

Once Jois had built up his basketballing resume in Australia, he headed to the States to ply his trade in the American college basketball system where he was welcomed at Eastern Washington.

Since his first game, Jois has starred.

In 20 games with the Eagles, he has recorded a freshman-high nine double-doubles while averaging 13.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and two assists per game in 34.1 minutes a night – impressive numbers for a freshman, particularly one on a struggling team. (Eastern Washington currently sits eighth in the Big Sky Conference, with a 6-16 record.)

In addition, Jois is averaging a steal and 2.4 blocks a game while shooting a remarkable 51 percent from the field.

During Thanksgiving weekend, the forward was selected to the All-Tournament Team for his performances in the 2012 College Basketball Experience (CBE) Hall of Fame Classic in Santa Clara, California, only enhancing his reputation amongst basketball followers.

During a recent rare 76-65 win over Portland State, Jois put on a basketballing master class, finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Only All-America candidates Jamaal Franklin and Mike Muscala have done that in a game this season, putting Jois in a particularly special club.

He was named “Freshman of the Night” by ESPN following the game.

Although the Eagles current record doesn’t speak for what Jois has been doing in the stats column, it is clear that everyone involved in the program has high hopes for the future. As the team continues to gel and improve, there comes a belief that the team can do big things and with that, the expectations on Jois will grow.

“All of our guys have come here sold on a vision,” EWU head coach Jim Hayford said.

“He (Venky) came halfway around the world and Justin (Crosgile) from the East Coast (of America) because they really, really believe we can become a winning program.

“We want to win. We really want to win.”

With a program that is headed in the right direction under the freshman leadership of Jois and his teammates, EWU’s future is looking bright.

It’s still early days, but going by what we’ve seen from the young man’s career so far, it wouldn’t be a stretch in saying that we may see him on the international scale in the near future.

Editor’s Note: This article has been re-published. Due to the popularity of the article we just had to share it again!

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  • Simon

    Thanks, a feel good grassroots success story, should be on the front page not buried down in the basketball menu!

    • The SportingJournal Admin

      @disqus_GoP25eJ7Pc:disqus We’ve now updated it and the article now appears on the Front Page. Enjoy!

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