Sophomores Tyler Harvey and Venky Jois Honored on All-Big Sky Squad

With only three sophomores and no freshmen recognized on the team, future bodes well with Harvey earning first team accolades and Jois earning honorable mention

With sophomores Tyler Harvey and Venky Jois included on the All-Big Sky Conference team announced by the league office Monday (March 10), Eastern Washington University head men’s basketball coach Jim Hayford certainly likes where his team is headed.

After ranking in the top 13 in four categories in NCAA Division I this season – including eighth with a league-leading average of 21.8 points per game -- Harvey was selected to the All-Big Sky first team. Jois received honorable mention after earning the league’s Freshman of the Year honor a year ago. Harvey is from Torrance, Calif., and graduated from Bishop Montgomery High School in 2011, and Jois is from Boronia, Australia, and Box Hill High School.

In all, 21 players were honored, including no freshmen and just three sophomores. Joel Bolombay from Weber State was the only other player honored that didn’t have junior or senior standing. Eastern’s squad in 2013-14 had no seniors on its roster.

“To have two underclassmen recognized in the all-conference voting really bodes well for where our program is headed,” said Hayford, whose team finished 15-16 overall and 10-10 in the league.

Harvey’s combined ranking of 18th in 3-pointers per game (5th, 3.52) and 3-point shooting percentage (13th, 43.3) currently ranks second in NCAA Division I. He was also 10th in free throw percentage with a league-leading 89.7 percent conversion rate, and made his last 25 of the season.

Harvey set the school’s single season record for 3-pointers made on Feb. 27 when he had seven against UNC, breaking the previous record of 103 set by Shannon Taylor in the 1998-99 season. He finished with 109 for the season, ranking second in Big Sky Conference history behind the league record of 124 (Stephen Sir, Northern Arizona, 2006-07).

Jois ranked among the league leaders with averages of 13.4 points (12th), 8.0 rebounds (third), 2.5 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game (third) while making 52.8 percent of his shots from the field (10th). He established a new school record for career blocked shots, with a current total of 115.

Entering the 2014-15 season, Harvey currently ranks sixth in school history with a 15.88 career scoring average and Jois is 15th (12.88). Jois is also eighth in career rebounding average (8.5) and Harvey has the school’s fifth-best 3-point field goal percentage mark (43.3 percent) and the eighth-most total treys (132).

“Tyler had an outstanding season," praised Hayford. "He was one of the top perimeter shooters not only in the Big Sky Conference, but in the whole country. It’s fitting for him to be recognized as a first team All-Big Sky player who led the Big Sky in scoring. We’re proud of him. And most importantly, Eagle fans are excited we have to more great seasons ahead with Tyler.

"I’m glad Venky was recognized as a sophomore too," he added.


More on Tyler Harvey . . .

Finishing with a school-record 109 3-pointers on the season, first team All-Big Sky Conference selection Tyler Harvey has sole possession of second on the league’s all-time list, passing the 105 of Cory Schwab from Northern Arizona in the 2000-01 season. Former BSC record holder Shannon Taylor from Eastern is now fourth on the list with 103 in the 1998-99 season, and the league record is 124 set by Stephen Sir of NAU in 2006-07. Harvey’s average of 3.52 per game finished fourth in league history.

Harvey’s combined NCAA Division I 3-point shooting rankings (through games of March 9) add up to 18 (5th in average made at 3.52 and 13th in percentage at 43.3), ranking him second nationally. Currently first is Ethan Wragge of Creighton with a total ranking of 15 (12th 3.20, 3rd 47.8), Brady Heslip of Baylor has a total ranking of 18 (14th 3.16, 4th 46.4) and Karvel Anderson from Robert Morris has a total ranking of 20 (15th 3.15, 5th 45.8).

Harvey led the Big Sky in scoring (21.8), ahead of North Dakota’s Troy Huff (19.6), Weber State’s Davion Berry (19.2) and Montana’s Kareem Jamar (18.8). Harvey also led in 3-pointers made per game (3.5) and free throw percentage (.897), and was fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (.433). In league only statistics he led in scoring (23.3) and 3-pointers made per game (3.5), and was second in free throw percentage (.907).

Not only was he the Big Sky’s leading scorer, but Harvey has become a dead-eye free throw shooter for the Eagles. A year ago in early February, Harvey was barely seeing the court for the Eagles. But he earned playing time at the end of the season, and has scored in double figures in 37 of EWU’s last 39 games, with a streak of 23 snapped versus North Dakota on Jan. 30. The sophomore made only 43.5 percent of his free throws as a freshman, but this season led the Big Sky in games overall (.897) and was  second in league play (.907). He has made 118-of-128 (.922) in his last 16 outings, concluding the season with a string of 25 in a row that included a season-ending 12-of-12 performance versus Weber State on March 8. He also had a Big Sky and EWU record 20-of-20 versus Southern Utah on Jan. 23, a 13-of-13 effort at Northern Arizona on Jan. 16, an 11-of-11 effort at Montana on Feb. 8 and two other 8-of-8 efforts.

Harvey hit nine 3-pointers en route to a 37-point outing in EWU’s 84-65 win over Northern Arizona on Feb. 15, to go along with performances of 36 and 38 he had in the final 14 games of the season. Now with three of the top 17 performances in school history, only Rodney Stuckey (45, 38, 36, 36) and David Peed (44, 37, 37) have accomplished that feat. Harvey’s nine 3-pointers against NAU were one from the school record he tied on Feb. 1 in his 38-point effort versus Northern Colorado. He had 31 points and seven more 3-pointers in the rematch versus UNC on Feb. 27, giving him a total of 69 points and 17 treys in a season sweep over UNC for the Eagles.

Harvey has now averaged 21.3 points per game in his last 38 games as an Eagle after averaging 1.3 points in his first 13 outings. In fact, his one-year improvement by 14.1 points per game ranked third in the nation. A year ago in EWU’s last eight games, he scored 132 points (16.5 average) on 55 percent shooting from the field (52-of-94, including 20-of-44 3-point attempts). In the first 13 games he played in the 2012-13 season, Harvey scored just 17 points (by contrast, in the first 13 games this season he scored 261 with an average of 20.1 per game). In his freshman season, he played in 21 of EWU’s 31 games and averaged 14.0 minutes and 7.1 points per game. He currently ranks sixth in school history with a 15.9 career scoring average in 52 games (35 as a starter).


More on Venky Jois . . .

Sophomore Venky Jois, the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year in the 2012-13 season, earned honorable mention honors as an encore as a sophomore. He was selected by to its five-person All-Big Sky team, as well as for the first three months of the season.

In NCAA Division I statistics through games of March 8, Jois was 62nd with nine double-doubles and 96th in rebounding (8.0). He was EWU’s second-leading scorer with a 13.4 average (12th in the Big Sky) on 52.8 percent shooting from the field (ninth). He also averaged a team-leading 8.0 rebounds (fourth), as well as 2.5 assists and 1.6 blocks per game (third). In league only statistics, Jois was 11th in scoring (14.0), third in rebounds (8.0) and third in blocked shots (1.6).

He had a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds versus North Dakota on March 1, and also finished with three steals and a pair of blocked shots. He finished with nine double-doubles this season to rank 62nd in NCAA Division I, and his rebounding average was 96th. He had nine double-doubles as a freshman to rank among the leaders in NCAA Division I, and now has 18 in his 59-game career (56 as a starter). He is averaging 12.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 blocked shots per game in his career, and holds the school record with 115 career blocks.

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