NCAA Men: Jois and the Eagles flying high

Damian Arsenis is back with all the latest on the Aussie men playing Division I college hoops over the past week.


Plenty of action over the past week highlighted by a massive 38-point outburst by a soaring Eagle.

Player & Team of the Week

Albany's Sam Rowley made a very good case for player of the week honors with two double-doubles and Jeromie Hill was his consistent self yet again. However there is only one guy who was in the running this week. Guess who? Yep - Venky Jois yet again! His team also earned the honors this week also; let's find out why.

Eastern Washington backed up their upset road win against Indiana in fine fashion, recording a further two wins over the past week to improve to a 6-1 record and their best start to a season in 38 years. It was again no coincidence that the Eagles' on court success came thanks to the outstanding play of junior forward Jois.

Northern Kentucky proved no match for the soaring Eagles, with Jois delivering a very good 14 points on 6/7 shooting to go with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 4 blocked shots in just 26 minutes. He was a menace at both ends of the court, blocking the first shot of the game and setting the tone for the rest of the contest. Sophomore swingman Felix Von Hofe came off the bench to provide a spark with 9 points on 3/4 shots from beyond the arc with 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 18 minutes of action.

Taking on NAIA school Eastern Oregon, Jois simply monstered the opposition as he racked up a new career-high of 38 points in a big 104-87 victory. Eastern Oregon had no answer to the Aussie forward who went 15/21 from the field and a perfect 8/8 from the line in recording the 6th best individual scoring performance in school history and bettering his previous best of 29 points scored last season. While he man-handled Eastern Oregon offensively, he was just as good defensively, blocking 4 shots to increase his school record to 134 and pulling down 5 rebounds in an all-round stellar performance.

Jois who was named NetScouts International Player of the Week, has increased his averages to a career-best 19.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.7 blocks per game. His points are flowing at a red-hot 67.4% from the field with his only blemish being his free throw shooting percentage which is a lowly 48.8%. He has a chance to further build on his and the team's momentum with clashes against Seattle and San Francisco to follow this week.

Best of the Rest

For Texas-San Antonio (UTSA), Jeromie Hill has been a shining light in an otherwise indifferent start to the season as they slumped to 2-3 with two losses over the past week. Playing at home, the Roadrunners lost to Loyola (IL) 57-71 despite Hill's season and team-high 19 points with 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block performance. Offensively Hill was super-efficient, connecting on 7/9 from the field and 3/5 from long-range. Freshman center James Ringholt continued his emergence, chipping in 6 points on 2/3 from beyond the arc alongside 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block in 17 minutes.

UTSA started off on the right foot against Southern Utah with hill nailing back-to-back triples to open the game and create an early lead. Southern Utah hung around long enough to launch a final assault, connecting on 4 three-pointers in the final minute, including the 35-foot game-winner at the buzzer as the Roadrunners were stunned 92-93. With chances to seal the game from the line, the Roadrunners faltered and this allowed their opponents a shot at the win. Hill was at his consistent best, delivering his 13th consecutive game in double figures with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 1 steal in 36 minutes. Ringholt contributed 3 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 12 minutes off the bench. Leading the Roadrunners in scoring and rebounding, Hill continues to impress in delivering 16.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game after missing all of last season.

After a tough loss to #3 ranked Wisconsin, Boise State immediately rebounded with an 86-75 road win over Idaho. Both Nick Duncan and Anthony Drmic were in great form, combining for 29 points on 11/17 shooting. Duncan shaded Drmic this time around, enjoying 15 points with 2 rebounds and 1 steal compared with Drmic's 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. What was interesting for Duncan is that he entered the game without having made a 2-point field goal across 4 games this season, yet he made 5 inside the arc and went 6/8 from the field for the game! Coming off the bench, Igor Hadziomerovic played facilitator dishing out 4 assists with 3 points and 3 rebounds in 20 minutes. Duncan scored his 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including five field goals inside the arc. He entered the night with no two-point field goals in the first four games of the season.

Nick Duncan - Courtesy Boise State Athletics

Still on the road, the Broncos then faces a surging North Carolina State and came up on the wrong end of a 54-60 result. Despite trailing by as many as 15 points late in the game, Boise State closed to within 1 with just over a minute left before the Wolfpack held on for the win. Drmic logged 37 minutes and was made to work for every point, finishing with 10 points and 6 rebounds. His production however came on the back of a rough shooting night as he went just 3/12 from the field and with the Broncos shooting a lowly 34% overall. All 9 points from Duncan came on the back of triples with 3 rebounds against his name. Boise State now has a 4-2 record to open the season ahead of their next game against Saint Mary's - a game that will feature 6 Australians in action.

Sticking with Saint Mary's, they dismantled Cal Poly 82-56 at McKeon Pavilion to remain unbeaten and riding a 6-game winning streak. Playing with maturity and poise, freshman point guard Emmett Naar continues to surprise many with his impressive play. He was just 2 assists shy of his first double-double, compiling 10 points, 8 assists and 2 rebounds with 1 steal in 39 minutes. Coach Randy Bennett has found another Aussie gem to run his team, with Naar who is averaging 7 assists per game - 12th best in the nation - following in the footsteps of Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. Not to be outdone, sophomore forward Dane Pineau has firmly entrenched his place in the rotation, playing 18 minutes for 8 points and 4 rebounds, while freshman center Jock Landale chimed in with 2 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in just 5 minutes. Boise State will have their work cut out for them against the Gaels who are rolling.

Senior forward and team co-captain Sam Rowley recorded his first double-double of the year in racking up 18 points and 11 rebounds with 1 assist and 2 steals in helping lead Albany to a tight 75-71 road win over Colgate. His brother Mike Rowley also was solid again with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist as they combined to cause havoc in the paint offensively. Getting it done with perimeter play was junior guard Peter Hooley who was good for 14 points, 2 rebounds and 6 assists. Hooley made two key free throws down the stretch to ensure the Great Danes were able to hold off Colgate for good.

Sam Rowley on the drive against Siena - Courtesy University at Albany Media Relations

The elder Rowley was again leading from the front despite Albany dropping their game against UNLV in the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas 59-75. Sam collected his second straight double-double and 10th of his career with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 1 steal. Co-captain Hooley was just as good with a team-high 18 points with 7 rebounds and 1 assist, however the Aussie duo received little other support, finishing as the only Great Danes to reach double-digits in scoring. Albany are now 2-3 and next take on Holy Cross who play in the Patriot League.

Lafayette's winning streak came to an end on the road at the hands of Ivy League school Yale, 60-82. While the result did not go the Leopard's way, Dan Trist came away with a milestone as he reached 1,000 points despite being restricted to just 5 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist in 20 minutes as Lafayette went to their bench in the blowout win.

Needing to back up against Fairleigh Dickinson (FDU) on the road, a renewed Leopards outfit came out firing to eventually wear down FDU 82-61. For Trist, he compiled his first career double-double with a game-high 18 points and a career-best 13 rebounds. It was a timely performance by Trist, with his rebounding much-needed after Lafayette were man-handled in the paint in their loss to Yale. With a nice-looking 4-2 record with 3 road wins, the Leopards return home to host Wagner and then Sacred Heart this coming week.

In Hartford's first of three games over the past week, they managed to overcome Quinnipiac 54-50 on the road. Defensively minded senior guard Corban Wroe contributed 7 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists while sharp-shooting junior guard Taylor Dyson chipped in 6 points, 1 rebound and 1 steal. It was yet another close win, breaking a 7-game losing streak against Quinnipiac dating back to 1999.

Against Emerson, the Hawks would extend their winning streak to 5 as they proved far to accomplished in demolishing their opponents 83-50. Wroe and Dyson would combine for 10 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in helping Hartford to their best ever start to a season in all 31 years since entering Division I. Sophomore center Dougal Weir saw some good court time, pulling down a new career-best 7 rebounds with 6 points and 1 assist as the Hawk's aimed to maintain their momentum against Yale.

Dyson did his best to help get the Hawks over the line, going 3/6 from beyond the arc and 5/6 from the line in providing 13 points and 3 rebounds, however Yale would still prevail 69-57. Also solid yet again was Wroe who chipped in 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals. The loss snapped Hartford's streak, yet they are still a very good 5-2 to open the season having won 2 games on the road.

Current Melbourne United Head Coach Darryl McDonald's son Durrell McDonald contributed a 7 point, 6 rebound, 4 assist and 4 steal performance in DePaul's 87-72 win over Stanford. He then stepped it up even further with a sublime 5 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists and 5 steals performance that is sure to draw some attention as he guided DePaul to a 78-67 win over Northern Illinois.

And some other news and individual efforts mentioning in closing out this week's recap;

  • After injuring his ankle in a pre-season exhibition contest, senior guard Jackson Aldridge made his long-awaited debut in playing 7 minutes for Butler in their 64-58 win over Georgetown in securing 3rd place at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

  • Freshman Kai Healy experienced his first career-start for Santa Clara in their 68-60 win over Rider. He had 3 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 26 minutes.

  • Senior guard Dexter Kernich-Drew had his best output of the season, delivering 12 points and 2 rebounds in coming off the bench as Washington State defeated Rice 76-74.

  • Junior transfer Majok Deng compiled a 14 point and 10 rebound double-double with 3 blocked shots for Louisiana-Monroe in their 41-61 loss to Coast Carolina.

  • Western Illinois thrashed Greenville 91-56 with freshman Jamie Batish providing 12 points, 1 rebound and 1 steal in 24 minutes.