Freshman Venky Jois is Big Sky Player of the Week

With three double-doubles in his last four games, Australian leads EWU to 79-75 victory over Cal State Fullerton last Friday

True freshman forward Venky Jois from Boronia, Australia, is this week’s Big Sky Conference Player of the Week after his performance in Eastern Washington University’s 79-75 win over Cal State Fullerton last Friday (Nov. 30).

He had season-highs of 22 points and 13 rebounds against the Titans. He made 10-of-14 shots from the floor as he registered his third double-double in four games.

Jois is averaging 33.1 minutes, 13.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.4 blocked shots, 1.0 steals and 1.0 assists per game, and is leading the Big Sky in rebounding. He is the second Eastern newcomer to win the league’s weekly honor – German center Martin Seiferth was honored on Nov. 13.

Eastern, in the midst of a stretch with five of six games at home, hosts Idaho this Thursday (Dec. 6) and Seattle next Monday (Dec. 10). The Eagles play at UC Davis on Dec. 17 before starting Big Sky Conference play. The Eagles open league play at home against Weber State on Dec. 20, followed two days later by a visit from Idaho State.

During Thanksgiving weekend, Jois was selected to the All-Tournament Team for his performances in the 2012 College Basketball Experience (CBE) Hall of Fame Classic in Santa Clara, Calif. He had a pair of double-doubles with 19 points and 11 rebounds in EWU’s 75-70 win over South Carolina Upstate and 16 points and 11 boards one game earlier in an 86-83 loss to Utah Valley.

Jois came to Eastern after winning a pair of MVP awards in Australia. He was the Bob Staunton 2012 U-20 National Championship MVP, after leading the Victoria State Team to the championship and an unbeaten record. Saint Mary’s College and NBA standout Patty Mills won the Bob Staunton MVP Award in 2006 and 2007. In addition, Jois 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.

Jois and guard Justin Crosgile each had double-doubles in the win over Cal State Fullerton. Crosgile, a transfer from St. Joseph’s, had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. He made two huge baskets late in the game, as he recorded his first double-double of the season.

“All of our guys have come here sold on a vision,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “He (Venky) came halfway around the world and Justin from the East Coast because they really, really believe we can become a winning program. We want to win. We really want to win. It feels really good to get the win at home.”

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