Venkatesha (Venky) Jois – Ven-kuh-tay-shuh (Ven-key) Joyce
Reuter – Roy-tur
Frederik Jörg – Fred-rick Yourg
Two players from Germany, two from Australia and one from Arizona highlight Jim Hayford’s first recruiting class
One of the top high school players in the state of Arizona, as well as two players from Germany and two from Australia, have signed letters of intent to attend Eastern Washington University and play basketball for the Eagles, head men’s basketball coach Jim Hayford announced Wednesday (Nov. 16).
The five players include a point guard, and four players 6-foot-6 or taller, including a 7-foot-1 player who will be the tallest player in school history. Eastern has four seniors on this year’s team, and three of them are either 6-7 or 6-8.
“We knew we needed to sign a class that would improve our front court, based on us having seniors we would be losing,” said Hayford, who will also have 6-10 redshirt Martin Seiferth available next season. “When you look at the players we are redshirting and the players we are signing, we’ve improved our front court and have added to our overall skill base.”
Danny Powell, one of only two juniors on the Arizona Republic First-Team 5A All-State team a year ago, signed with EWU. A 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward from Phoenix, he averaged 19.2 points and 10.5 rebounds as a junior for Desert Vista High School after playing two years previously at Mesa (Ariz.) High School.
One of the Australian signees is 5-foot-9 point guard Daniel Hill from Sydney, Australia. Hill played on Australia’s U17 National Team, which placed sixth in the 2010 U17 World Championships in Germany. In the tournament on July 3, his team lost 76-68 to Canada and Gonzaga point guard Kevin Pangos. Both players had three assists, and Hill had four points and Pangos scored nine.
Also in 2010, Hill made a game-winning 3-pointer with five seconds remaining to lead his New South Wales Metro squad to the Australian U18 Men's National Championship with a 57-55 victory over VIC Metro (Basketball Victoria). He also led the U20 NSW team to a fourth-place finish in 2011, and he served in a captain’s role for all three teams.
The other Australian is Venky Jois, who is from Boronia, Australia, and attended Box Hill High School in Melbourne. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward was the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) Youth Player of the Year in 2011, an award given to the top under-23 player and previously won by college and NBA standouts Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut.
The two Germans include 7-foot-1, 285-pound center Frederik Jörg from Korschenbroich and 6-6, 220-pound forward Thomas Reuter from Breckerfeld. Both attended tryouts for the U20 Germany squad in December 2010. Jörg represented Baskets Akademie Weser-Ems and Reuter represented BSV Wulfen and Team Phoenix Hagen.
Reuter also represented Germany in Hillsboro, Ore., in August 2011 in the fifth-annual NIKE Global Challenge. The three-day event showcases the top talents from across the world, as they competed in an eight-team, 12-game tournament.
“Each one of these young men are gifted players who can help us in our goal of being a perpetual post-season team,” Hayford added.
Eastern already has one Australian and one German in its program. Junior Jordan Hickert is from Bunbury, Australia, and Seiferth, a transfer from Oregon, is from Berlin.
Eastern has had several 6-11 players in its history as a NCAA Division I member (since 1983-84), with the most recent being Jeremy McCulloch (2002-05). The only former Eagle taller than that is 7-foot Uli Sledtz from Geisenkirchen, West Germany. He transferred from the University of Washington and played for Eastern in the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons.
More on Powell . . .
Hayford on Powell: “Danny is a hard-nosed player who can play a physical game, and is an outstanding shooter for somebody his size. He has an inside-outside game, and will be college-ready upon arrival.”
Desert Vista jumped out to a 14-3 record and won the Platinum Division of the Las Vegas Prep Championship with a 6-0 record. Powell was the tournament’s MVP, averaging 26 points and 14 rebounds, scoring 11 points in a 45-42 victory over Liberty (Nevada) in the title game.
He also averaged 1.1 assists per game and scored 576 total points. Powell scored at least 20 on 14 occasions, and had 30 or more three times. He scored a career-high 36 in a 75-66 victory over Eldorado (Nevada), making 12-of-15 shots from the floor and 10-of-11 free throws.
For the season, he made 53 percent of his shots (192-of-359), including 46 percent of his 3-point attempts (46-of-101). He also made 85 percent of his free throws (146-of-171) to break school records for made free throws and percentage.
He lost 20 pounds between his sophomore and junior seasons in high school. As a sophomore at Mesa High School, he averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, with a high of 26 points in a 92-90 victory over North High School. Twice he had 10 rebounds. Mesa finished the season 25-5 overall and 9-1 league play.
In his freshman season at Mesa, he averaged 9.0 points and 3.3 rebounds for the Jackrabbits, who finished 10-15 overall. He heads into his senior season with a career total of 1,166 points and 535 rebounds.
Powell also played AAU basketball for Team Superstar, the Arizona Dream Team and Team Hunter Elite. He was born March 4, 1993, in Mesa, Ariz., and is the son of Glen and Dee Dee Powell. He intends on majoring in communications at Eastern.
More on Hill . . .
Hayford on Hill: “Daniel is a very heady player whose basketball intelligence will pay great dividends for Eastern in the future. He’s a dead-eye shooter, an ambidextrous ball-handler and an amazing passer. He is regarded by many people I respect as the best point guard in Australia.”
He also played club basketball for the Sutherland Sharks, and competed in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in 2009. He was also selected to compete for the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) men’s basketball program.
In addition, he participated in the 2011 Nike All-Asia Camp and was selected to the all-star team. He was also selected to the all-tournament team in the Avery Air Invitational Tournament in Plano, Texas. Twice he earned awards as sportsman of the year – one each at the high school and club levels.
He was born on Jan. 4, 1993, in Sydney, Australia. His parents are Les and Vicki Hill. Interested in pursuing a degree in construction management or health services at Eastern.
More on Venky Jois . . .
Hayford on Jois: “Venky brings to us freakish athleticism with great basketball I.Q. This will be a tremendous combination, as he will match-up well with other four men (power forwards) in the Big Sky Conference. Not only will he be one of the top incoming basketball players at Eastern Washington, but he will be one of our top incoming students academically as well.”
In his first season in the SEABL, he averaged 9.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while making 48.7 percent of his shots from the field. In 2010, he led his U18 Dandenone Rangers team to the championship in the McDonald’s National Junior Classic. While playing for the Victoria State Team in 2010, he averaged 8.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and nearly one assist per game, while making 61.2 percent of his field goal attempts.
He was selected to the 12-player Victorian Secondary Schools’ Sports Association Boys 18 and Under Basketball Team. As part of the team, he competed in the School Sport Australia Event in Newcastle.
Graduated from Box Hill High School in 2011, and was selected to the Victoria All-State team. He also participated in swimming, soccer, Australian rules football, cross country and athletics at Box Hill. He won numerous awards while he was there from 2006-2010.
He was born July 7, 1993, in Upper Ferntree Cully in Australia. Full name is Venkatesha Jois, but goes by “Venky.” His parents are Markandeya and Jennifer Jois. He intends on majoring in biology at Eastern.
More on Jörg . . .
Hayford on Jörg: “Frederik is obviously a very big person. He plays the game with great intelligence, and is effective in using his size to give us a great advantage at the low post. I think he will combine with Martin Seiferth to create one of the biggest post combinations in the Big Sky Conference.”
Jörg recently played for Akademie Weser-Ems in the U19 Nachwuchs Basketball Bundesliga League (NBBL), averaging 14.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game. He ranked second in the league in blocked shots, seventh in rebounding and fourth in double-doubles with seven (in 12 games). He made 59.0 percent of his shots from the field and also averaged 2.0 assists per game. His single game high for rebounds was 25.
He will graduate from Gymnasium Eversten in 2012. He was born on Aug. 11, 1992, in Saarbrücken, Germany. His parents are Hermann and Martina Jörg. He intends on majoring at Eastern in business and economics.
More on Reuter . . .
Hayford on Reuter: “Thomas has had great experience internationally representing the country of Germany. He’s a very physical player who has interior and perimeter skills. He’s an outstanding passer and a very strong rebounder. He is a great addition to our program.”
In 2010, Reuter helped the U18 German National Team to a runner-up finish at the Albert-Schweitzer Tournament.
While playing with BSV Wulfen in the Bundesliga ProB second league in Germany, his team reached the 2010-11 playoffs. He averaged 11.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
While playing for Team Phoenix Hagen in the 2009-10 season in the Nachwuchs Basketball Bundesliga League (NBBL), his team reached the final 16 of the German Championships, as he averaged 16.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. In 2010-11, he averaged 20.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
While playing for Team Phoenix Hagen in 2008-09, his team reached the quarterfinals of the U19 German Championships. His team lost in a best-of-three series against Alba Berlin. During the season, Reuter averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
He graduated from Theodor-Heuss Gymnasium in Hagen, Germany, in 2011. In 2007, his school placed third in the German Championship (officially named the Jugend trainiert für Olympia).
In 2006, he helped lead Nordrhein-Westfalen – a county team from the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) region -- win the German Championship.
Reuter was born Jan 25, 1992, in Hagen, Germany. His parents are Helmut and Bäsbel Reuter.