To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Eastern Washington F Venky Jois about having a roster that is half-international and half-domestic.
You are one of several returning players who started last year. How big a factor do you think your team’s experience will be this season? It is a big-time factor, just knowing what everyone’s role is from the start rather than opening a Pandora’s box. Our experience will allow us to become more focused.
You lost two of your three leading scorers in Collin Chiverton and Justin Crosgile. How will you be able to fill the offensive void left by the departure of these two starters? Both of them had crazy offensive talent, so it might look like it will hurt us, but it just gives us an opportunity to play a little more team-oriented basketball and pile up some more assists. We have a lot of new players and all of them will have the chance to step up.
Over half of your 13-man roster (including yourself) hails from foreign countries (Australia,Germany,Serbia). What made you pick the Eagles? The game is certainly different in each country, but coming here with different perspectives allowed us to add different facets to the team because we see the game differently. It is beneficial for our team to finally understand how we all play together. Since age 16, it has been a dream of mine to play Division I college basketball and get to study at a great school, so the Eagles seemed like a perfect fit.
Your non-conference road schedule includes trips to Washington, St. Mary’s, Seton Hall, and UConn. Which of these four games do you feel will present your biggest test? All of them will test us but I am most excited for our east coast trip. It is great to play against the best of the best.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season? I think we will do quite a bit better than last season. We will not be just Big Sky contenders but hopefully we can make the NCAA tourney.
You grew up in Australia; How did you first get into basketball? The school system let us play as many sports as possible, and I fell in love with basketball even though it did not come naturally to me.
You were named Big Sky Freshman of the Year last season. How were you able to come in and contribute right from the start? I was lucky enough to be put in a position to perform as a freshman because we had a young group of guys, so when I got the chance to play I was able to make a contribution.
A decade from now are you more likely to be a pro basketball player, a doctor, or something else? That crystal ball is pretty fuzzy but hopefully I will have a career in basketball since that is my strongest passion. If not, being a doctor is also a dream of mine.