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Eastern sweeps BSC Freshman of Year honors

Australian Venky Jois also earns Big Sky honorable mention All-Conference honor


Paul Delaney

Eastern’s Venky Jois (55) had a breakout season for the Eagles and earned Freshman of the Year honors for the Big Sky Conference.

Whether it was scoring, rebounding or blocking shots – not to mention passing the ball and playing defense – Venky Jois made quite an impression on the Big Sky Conference in the 2012-13 men’s basketball season.

As a result, the 6-foot-7 true freshman from Boronia, Australia, was selected by the league’s coaches March 11 as the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year. He was also the lone EWU player on the All-Conference team, earning honorable mention.

“It’s a great honor - I loved competing this year for Eastern,” Jois said. “There are a few really talented freshmen playing in the Big Sky, so it’s definitely a big achievement for me.”

Despite a mid-season ankle injury that kept him out of three league games and limited him in several others, he became the fifth Eagle to win the BSC Freshman of the Year award, joining Marc Axton (2002), Matt Nelson (2004), Rodney Stuckey (2006) and Glen Dean (2010) as recipients, all in the last 12 seasons.

“Venky had an outstanding season and is very deserving of this honor,” second year head coach Jim Hayford said. “He will work very hard to lead our young team to new heights in future years.”

Jois epitomized the continued development of EWU’s young players, including six freshmen and sophomores.

“Recruiting is hard work and our staff deserves recognition for this accomplishment as well,” Hayford said. “The last two seasons we have had the newcomer of the year and the freshman of the year. I want to thank my assistants for their hard work on the recruiting trail.”

Jois finished second in the league and ranks 46th in NCAA Division I in rebounding (9.0), and is 33rd in the nation and tops in the Big Sky in blocked shots (2.4 per game). With 66 blocked shots for the season, he originally broke the school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006, but was passed by teammate Martin Seiferth (68). Jois already ranks seventh on EWU’s career list.

Jois was also 15th in the league in scoring (12.3) and 12th in field goal percentage (.488). In addition, he averaged 2.4 assists per game and led the team with 24 steals in the 28 games he played.

“I still think my teammates and I have only scratched the surface, and are going to get a lot better over the off-season,” Jois added. “I’m just looking forward to next year.”

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