Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Holidays

Greetings and Happy Holidays from everyone here at Eastern! The EWU Men’s basketball team spent their Christmas Holiday on the East Coast playing Seton Hall and UCONN. The team was able to spend time together and do some sight seeing a long the way. It was a great opportunity for the players to see a part of the country they have never seen. 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve in NYC

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy thanksgiving!

Celebrate Black Friday on Reese Court at 6pm to watch the Eagles take on Seattle University

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Eagles Use Hot Shooting and Defense to Surge Past Boston U 80-68

Jim Hayford Post-Game Interview

If the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team liked the way it looked at the top of the Big Sky Conference standings entering the game, they’ll really like the way it looks now.

Four players scored in double figures on a hot-shooting night for the Eagles, and EWU surged past Boston University 80-68 Friday (Nov. 22) in Irvine, Calif., in the 2K Sports Classic benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. It was the first of three games in three days for the Eagles in the tourney.

Eastern entered the game on top of the Big Sky standings with two other teams at 2-1 on the season, and improved to 3-1 on the year with the convincing win. The Terriers, picked to win the Patriot League title this season, are now 2-2 after finishing 17-13 a year ago.

“I’m really proud of our players – we played a very complete game,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team made 54 percent of its shots while holding the Terriers to 38 percent. “We played defense the way we wanted to. That was a very experience, efficient and well-coached team, and we held them to 38 percent.

“So we did it on the defensive end, and we were plus 12 in rebounding so we did it on the rebounding end too,” he continued. “As far as our own offensive efficiency, we made 54 percent overall and 55 percent from three. It’s just a complete basketball game and I’m really proud.”

Sophomore Tyler Harvey sank 5-of-7 treys and poured in a team-high 21 points, with Venky Jois finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Point guard Drew Brandon had his second double-double in four games with 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and Ognjen Miljkovic came off the bench to contribute 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

“He’s a really good player,” Hayford said of his new point guard, who is averaging 11.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game thus far. “What I like about him is he is really unaffected – he’s going to play at his own speed and he plays hard. He’s one of the best rebounding guards I’ve ever coached. Drew is obviously a great addition to our program. We had all these pieces coming back, but we needed to go find a point guard. He certainly is meeting our expectations.”

Miljkovic, a wiry 6-foot-7 freshman forward, played 26 minutes because of a better match-up situation against the Terriers. Meanwhile, 6-foot-10 starter Martin Seiferth was shotless in eight minutes of action.

“Martin might end up being the leading scorer tomorrow, but for us that was the best match-up tonight,” said Hayford. “As a freshman, O.G. played really, really tough. I’m proud of him.”

In all, the Eagles made 54 percent of their shots and led by as many as 14 points in the second half after leading at halftime 39-34. The Eagles sank 10-of-18 3-pointers, and also out-rebounded Boston University 43-31.

Junior Parker Kelly added seven points to the Eagle cause, but it was his defense on D.J. Irving that made a bigger impact on the game. Irving, the preseason Patriot League Player of the Year, scored nine points in the first half on 3-of-3 shooting, but missed all six of his shots in a scoreless second half.

The Eagles trailed early 26-19, but used a 12-2 run to open a four-point advantage late in the first half. Miljkovic scored five of the points, and Jois had four in the surge.

A 13-4 run in the second half helped Eastern open its first double-digit lead of the game at 52-42 on a 3-pointer by Miljkovic with 14:50 remaining. The closest the Terriers came the rest of the way was seven, as the Eagles led by as many as 14 on five occasions.

“This Boston U team came out hot and they were throwing them in from everywhere,” said Hayford. “Instead of hanging our head, they would throw a punch and we would come right back at them. There was no quit in us, just fight. They had a great start to the second half, but we matched that with energy. The result was a complete-game win.”

The Eagles next take on LIU Brooklyn at 3 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 23), then wrap up the tournament on Sunday (Nov. 24) when EWU plays host UC Irvine at 4 p.m.

“I told them I want more, I want more,” said Hayford regarding what he told his team after Boston U victory. “It’s fun being a coach and watching guys mature and develop. That’s why you get into coaching. To see that growth through the offseason, I’m just really, really proud. We beat a team picked to win the Patriot League.”

Both games will be broadcast by 700-AM ESPN, with Dennis Patchin calling the play-by-play in place of Larry Weir, who will handle play-by-play of EWU’s football game this weekend. Saturday’s basketball game will be broadcast on a delayed basis after the football broadcast and Sunday’s will be live.

Following the tournament, Eastern plays a home game with Seattle on Friday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. at Reese Court. The Redhawks, who were 8-22 a year ago, are currently 2-2 with wins over Cal State Fullerton and The Evergreen State, and losses to Washington and Boise State. Seattle hosts UC Riverside on Nov. 25 prior to taking on the Eagles.

West Coach Conference powerhouse Saint Mary’s will usher in an equally difficult month of December. Eastern travels to Moraga, Calif., on Dec. 8.  to play the Gaels, who were 28-7 overall and 14-2 in the WCC in 2008.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Five Starters Finish in Double Figures in 87-58 Win

Highlights from the Eagle's  87-58 win over Pacific

Venky Jois has big second half to begin 2013-14 season for EWU with a double-double and a win

Getting rid of the first-game jitters was the main game plan. and Eastern Washington University’s starting five did their part.
Sophomore forward Venky Jois had a double-double and EWU’s other four starters scored in double figures to lead the Eagles to an 87-58 men’s basketball victory over Pacific University Sunday (Nov. 10) in the season opener for both teams at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
“The most important thing was to get out the first-game jitters,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team never trailed. “Another thing was to play together as a team. Whatever the score or whatever is going on in the game, we need to stay true to our identity as a team. I feel like we did a very good job of that against Pacific, which is a well-coached team.”
Jois, the Freshman of the Year in the Big Sky Conference a year ago, finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and three steals. He had 16 points and eight rebounds in the second half alone as EWU turned a 15-point halftime lead into a 29-point runaway. He had nine double-doubles as a freshman to rank among the leaders in NCAA Division I.
“I am never surprised when Venky gets a double-double,” said Hayford. “That is the expectation he has for himself. That is going to need to be a regular event for us to be the kind of team we need to be for the amount of minutes he plays.”
Junior college transfer Drew Brandon, the lone newcomer to the starting lineup, was impressive in his Eagle debut. He finished with 14 points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals. He helped engineer a 23-5 advantage in fast-break points for the Eagles.
Junior guard Parker Kelly scored 12 of his points in the first half, and finished with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Guard Tyler Harvey added 13 points, five assists and three steals. Six-foot-10 Martin Seiferth chipped in 10 points and three blocked shots as he led EWU’s commanding 54-24 advantage in points in the paint.
Eastern also had a 27-7 advantage in points off turnovers, with Brandon helping the most with that.
“I liked Drew getting that many steals,” added Hayford. “I didn’t know we recruited a thief so that was pretty exciting.”
The Eagles led from start to finish, taking early leads of 13-5, 20-8 and 25-11. Eastern led 42-27 at halftime, and kept building its lead in the second half, ending the game on a 9-0 run.
The schedule gets much more difficult for the Eagles, who play at Washington of the Pac-12 Conference on Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. Pacific time in a game televised by the Pac-12 Networks. The Huskies were 18-16 a year ago overall and 9-9 in one of the toughest leagues in the country.
The Eagles return four starters and seven total letterwinners to a team that finished 10-21 overall and just missed the Big Sky Conference Tournament with a 7-13 league mark. Hayford enters his third season at the helm.
The Boxers are a NCAA Division III team from the Northwest Conference, and are in their fourth season under Tim Cleary. Last year, Pacific was 15-10 overall and 9-7 in league play.
Eastern is now 8-1 all-time against Pacific, but it was only the second time the two teams have played since 1975. That was a 49-40 victory on Dec. 17, 1992, in Cheney in EWU’s only game as a NCAA Division I team versus the Boxers. Eastern has won the last six meetings dating back to its lone loss in the series by a 65-61 score on Dec. 15, 1961.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Get to know EWU Sophomore Venky Jois - All-Australian First Team

In the lead up to the 2013/14 NCAA division 1 college basketball season, Damian Arsenis counts down his pre-season selections to The Pick and Roll All-Australian First Team in a series that includes interviews with all five players.
Securing a forward position in the pre-season All-Australian First team is reigning Big Sky Freshman of the Year, Venky Jois of Eastern Washington.

#4 | Venky Jois, Eastern Washington

Position Forward
Height 6’7″/ 201cm
Weight 100kg
Year Sophomore
Hometown Boronia, VIC
Venky Jois going up strong - Courtesy of Eastern Washington Athletics
Venky Jois going up strong – Courtesy of Eastern Washington Athletics
After a stellar junior career in Australia that included MVP awards won previously by current NBA players Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut, the 6’7″ Jois landed at Eastern Washington. Despite battling nagging injuries throughout the season, he went on to exceed almost everyone’s expectations.  Jois missed three games with an ankle injury mid-season, and despite the setback he would still record a league high 9 double-doubles in averaging 12.3 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.4 blocks per game. His 9 rebounds per game ranked him second in the Big Sky Conference (46th nationally), whilst his 2.4 blocks per game led the league (33rd nationally) and now has him in 7th place on the Eagle’s all-time list after just a single season.
With his amazing first year on court exploits and explosive finishing at the rim, it was hard not to attract any attention.  Jois was duly recognised by being named 2013 Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year whilst also receiving an All-Conference honorable mention.  Healthy and injury free, Jois will once again be expected to provide leadership and maturity alongside his athletic all-round game throughout 2013/14. There are no limits to just how high this Eagle can soar, and expect nothing less than an outstanding season from the sophomore forward this season.

The Pick and Roll’s exclusive interview with: Venky Jois

Damian: Just like my own surname, your name is quite unique. What is your family background and how do you actually pronounce your surname?
Venky: Even though my mother and I were both born and raised in Australia, I’m named after my Indian grandfather Venkatesha. My Dad’s side of the family are all Indian, but over here I just go by Venky for short. The name Venkatesha is actually a form of one of the Hindu Gods, Vishnu. My surname is actually pronounced “Joyce.”
Damian: I am not too familiar with your progression through the junior basketball ranks, but am aware you won the under 20 Nationals MVP and South East Australia Basketball League (SEABL) Youth Player of the Year Awards which are amazing achievements (awards won by current NBA players Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills). Can you tell me what led to you taking up basketball and fill me in on where you played most of your junior basketball growing up? Did you face any adversity in making it to where you now are?
Venky: I loved most sports as a kid but I started out my junior career at Knox as a top age under 12 player. After not making any of the top teams with Knox, I moved to Dandenong for my bottom age under 16 season, and it was only there where I feel they put me in positions to succeed. Especially when I got a chance to play SEABL and eventually start on a playoff team as a 17-year-old, winning accolades like the SEABL Youth Player of the Year award started to put me on the map both in Australia and in the USA. I committed to Eastern Washington shortly after winning that award, and after winning MVP of the Under 20 national team. I also started to get some interest back home in Australia, being invited to practice with the Melbourne Tigers and the Australian Boomers squad!
Damian: Sounds like your career really took off from there! What ambitions did you have as junior basketball player? Was playing college basketball always high on your list of goals?
Venky: College basketball was definitely something I set my sights on from the age of 16. After I started to improve and perform as a junior, I came to the realisation I could make playing in the NCAA a reality; from there it is definitely something I worked hard towards and strived for. Along with heading to college, winning a National championship in juniors along with attaining success with my SEABL team were my goals. I only managed to achieve two out of those three goals; we lost to Albury-Wodonga by 2 points in the SEABL championship game, which just so happened to be the day before I left for college.
Damian: I guess you had plenty of time to revisit that narrow loss on the plane. So after all that success, how was it that you ended up venturing to the USA and a scholarship with Eastern Washington?
Venky: Playing with Dandenong certainly helped an enormous amount in providing exposure to the college scene, and ended up being the contact that helped me land a spot on Eastern Washington’s roster last year. One of the Dandenong coaches for a junior team told Jim Hayford from the US about me, and now Hayford is my coach here in America.
Damian: It’s sometimes all about the right time and the right place.  Moving to another country on the other side of the world must have been a big change for you. What adjustments did you have to make?
Venky: It was definitely a big adjustment at first, but something I do cherish as I believe that it helped me mature as a person and develop me as a player much faster than I would have if I stayed home in Australia. I think living on my own, off campus where I have to cook my own meals and do everything around the house; these were things I normally took for granted back home. It did take a lot of getting used to, but now is something I definitely prefer. That’s not to say I don’t miss my family and friends though; the culture and lifestyle change couldn’t compare to them and especially come Christmas time and birthdays - it’s always going to be tough being away from home at those times.
Damian: After playing in the SEABL, how have you found playing basketball for a team such as Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Conference?
Venky: Playing basketball for Eastern Washington was probably the best decision I could have made in terms of developing further as a basketball player. In Australia, my game was almost purely all about transition, finishing, rebounding and slashing.  However after a number of injuries to our point guards, I ended up finding myself playing the point-forward position in college and therefore an opportunity to create for others. Despite the injuries I experienced during my freshman season, I’ve improved tenfold from the player I was back at home. I am continuing to improve here and I believe much faster than I would have if I have stayed in Australia to pursue my career. Both the opportunities I’ve been given here and the facilities available to me have allowed me to really improve each and every day, and hopefully more people will see the work I’ve put in on court and in the weight room as my career continues.
Damian: In following your career with the Eagles from Australia, you had a massive freshman season in being named Big Sky Freshman of the Year. Congratulations on that by the way – a massive achievement for someone from the land down under!  Did the recognition surprise you and how have you handled all the attention that goes with it?
Venky: I was really honoured when I received that award, as there are a number of freshmen that I think will be spectacular players down the road, and are certainly very tough to play against even now. Unfortunately though, as a team we didn’t end up having the season we wanted in order to hold our heads high. Individual accolades don’t mean too much when your team is not winning, but I think this upcoming season things will be a lot different and our expectations are high.
Venky Jois at the line - Courtesy of Eastern Washington Athletics
Venky Jois at the line – Courtesy of Eastern Washington Athletics
Damian: How do you describe yourself as a player? What are your key strengths and what areas of your game do you need to keep working on?
Venky: At the moment I would describe my game as being a play maker and rebounder. I’ve worked really hard all spring and summer improving my shot and think I’ve become a much more complete player than I was last year. I still recognise that I have a long way to go in tightening up almost all aspects of my game before I’d be ready to step onto the floor as a professional. I’ve managed to get by through using my athleticism and finishing around the rim for most of my career, but it’s only the last couple of years that I’ve added new facets to my game that will almost certainly help me moving forward.
Damian: Daniel Hill and you joined fellow Aussie Jordan Hickert at the Eagles as a freshman, and now Felix von Hofe also links with the team after an outstanding U19 World Championships. Is there a growing sense of ‘Aussie’ camaraderie and are the Eagles trying to replicate the success of Saint Mary’s College in recruiting players from Australia?
Venky: Definitely! It’s no secret that Eastern Washington is trying to gain an advantage on other programs by recruiting internationally; Australia and Germany are the two countries we have most heavily recruited from. However we also have now added a Serbian team member in Ognjen Miljkovic - we now have more international players than Americans on our roster!
Damian: With all the internationals on your roster, what are your expectations for the season ahead both individually and for the team?
Venky: On paper we have a young team again, but I don’t believe that should have any effect on the way we play this year. Most of our guys have significant experience from playing last year in the program, and I really think that with the new additions to the team we can make some good runs both in the preseason and Big Sky Conference. Individually it should be an interesting season for me; last year I came into the season after recuperating from knee surgery, and then fell down at the end of the season with an ankle injury. I never really felt 100% throughout the course of the entire season. Not only do I feel much better fitness wise right now, but I am also a much improved player to last year. I think you can expect a hybrid of posting up and transition plays to complement the playmaking I was able to create through on-balls from the wing last year. We still have some work to do with figuring out how to best integrate our new players into the line-up, but our guys now know what to expect and have all come back better, stronger and smarter than last year.
Damian: So with all the on-court action ahead of the new season sounding promising, I’m also interested to identify what are you currently studying and where do you see your qualification taking you for life after basketball?
Venky: I’ll be declaring either a Biology or pre-medicine major this year so a future in physiotherapy or medicine would certainly be my goal for life after basketball. I have a passion for all the major sciences and would love to explore career paths in any of those subjects.
Damian: Sounds really interesting, but hard going! Whilst you technically have three more years to go, are you likely to eventually head home to Australia maybe land an NBL gig, or will you explore options in the US or Europe?
Venky: I want to play at the highest level I possibly can in basketball; whether that brings me back home to Australia, sends me to Europe or even staying in the US. I love to compete, so I’ll just continue to work hard so that in three years from now, I can be asked the same question and hopefully have multiple opportunities to explore. Until that time I’ll be in the gym working as hard as I can to get bigger, stronger, faster and better than I was the day before.
Damian: I may just ask you that same question in three years’ time and compare your answers! Can you share with me your career highlight to date? What was it and why does it stand out for you?
Venky: To me, my biggest career highlight was more of a moment than it was an accomplishment. I was playing as a role player on the under 18 Victorian state team in the national championship game (which unfortunately we ended up losing at the final buzzer). At one point in the game I drove baseline in front of what I thought was a huge crowd at the time, and then dunked it over one of the New South Wales guys and yelled as loud as I could. However I recall  not being able to hear my own voice because the stadium was so loud it was deafening! That was the first time I realised basketball was something I really wanted to do. It was an awe-inspiring moment for me.
Damian: A goose bump moment by the sounds of it – I wish I had been there to see that. With all that you have accomplished to date both on and off the court, what do you want to achieve on court before you eventually retire well down the road?
Venky: I really just want to play. Competing is my passion and every day I work hard so that one day I might get the opportunity to be part of something special.
Damian: It’s been great finding out a little bit more about you and your basketball. However it is always good to finish up with something memorable. Can you tell me something about you that you may not have shared with many others before?
Venky: I guess not many people would know that I come from a family of biologists. My Dad used to work as a veterinarian and then moved to lecturing and research in nutrition. My eldest sister will be a Vet too, whilst my youngest sister has almost finished studying medicine, and my other sister has a PHD in Bio-Med! My Mother is now doing pharmaceuticals, but I’d definitely like to follow suit and potentially become a doctor as well at some stage down the road.
Damian: Wow – that’s one smart family you have there!  I was the first and only child in my family to graduate from university; you will get no pressure from me.  I really appreciate your time in willingness to answer my questions openly. Good luck for the season ahead and may the Eagles soar!
Venky: Thanks Damian. It’s great to get the support from back home in Australia.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Experienced Eagles want to get tougher

A little toughness could make everything a bit easier this season for the Eastern Washington Eagles men’s basketball team.
To that end, the Eagles moved aggressively into the new year during their first practice Tuesday morning at Reese Court. It doesn’t hurt that third-year head coach Jim Hayford returns four starters and six lettermen from last year’s young squad.
“The best thing is, we didn’t have to pass out so many name tags,” Hayford said. “All these freshmen and sophomores … we know each other a little better, having been through everything last year.”
That included a difficult nonconference schedule, a key player defection and a rash of injuries. This year’s 31-game schedule is every bit as tough: one week after the opener at Reese Court against Division III Pacific, the Eagles play at Washington. Also on the schedule are Connecticut and Seton Hall.
Hayford hopes experience – “and a little more toughness” – will mean winning more close games. Nine of EWU’s losses last year were one-possession games with less than four minutes remaining.
 “There were a number of close games,” he said. “That is part of being in a competitive conference. The hard part about experience is getting it. Hopefully we got it, and we will win more than our fair share of those close games this year. I do like that our guys found ways to win some of those last year.”
The returning starters include forward Venky Jois, the Big Sky Freshman of the Year, center Martin Seiferth, forward Thomas Reuter and guard Parker Kelly. Forwards Garrett Moon and Danny Powell are coming off redshirt seasons.
Other key returnees are guards Tyler Harvey – a late-season revelation last year – and Daniel Hill. However, the key to success may be junior point guard Drew Brandon, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound transfer from Sierra College in California.
“We’re really counting on Drew Brandon at the point,” said Hayford.
“We have starters at all five positions, so if he can fill that point guard spot capably, that’s really going to expedite the maturing process for our team,” Hayford said.
Hayford said Brandon is strong at creating his own shots and getting off screens.
Other newcomers include forwards Ognjen Miljkovic from Serbia and Felix Von Hofe of Australia.
Jois and Seiferth comprise one of the better frontcourts in the Big Sky Conference, but Jois says the Eagles need to do a better job of rebounding, particularly in the second half. “We’ve been focusing a lot on rebounding, where we don’t come in with a weakness but a strength,” Jois said.
The Eagles will hold 30 practices between now and the opener. The Eagles will open Big Sky play Jan. 2 at Weber State and Jan. 4 at Idaho State, with the home conference opener on Jan. 9 against Montana.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Eagles Helping Eagles

With the new school year officially underway, it was all hands on deck to welcome our new students to Eastern Washington University.  Last week the EWU Men’s Basketball team took time to help incoming freshman move into their dorms.
A group of the guys taking a quick break to pose for a picture

Thomas Reuter and Parker Kelly hauling a mini-fridge for a fellow Eagle

Fred Jorg and Daniel Hill working hard

Swoop stopped by to lend a helping hand

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Alex Pribble Joins Eagle Basketball Coaching Staff

Pribble, a graduate and former player at the University of California, spent the past two seasons as an assistant at San Francisco State where he was the top assistant for the Gators. Prior to that, he was the boys’ basketball coach at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California for three years. 
"I am honored that Alex will join our staff,” said Hayford, who enters his third season as head coach of the Eagles. “He has a bright future in the coaching profession and our players will benefit from his mentoring. Alex is very intelligent, knows the game, and works well with people. He has a great work ethic and will be involved in all areas of our program." 

San Francisco State was 9-19 his first season with the school, then improved to 16-12 in the 2012-13 season. The Gators finished 13-9 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and advanced to the semifinals of the CCAA Tournament. A 57-47 victory over Cal State L.A. was the school’s first-ever home playoff victory as a member of the CCAA. 

While at Tamalpais, the Red Tail Hawks won 30 games and earned a trip to the North Coast Section Playoffs during the 2009-10 season. It was the school’s first playoff berth in eight years. Pribble was the head coach at Tamalpais from 2008 until 2011. 

He spent the 2007-08 season as a graduate assistant coach for Cal, and also spent time as an AAU head coach and individual instructor for the North Bay Basketball Academy. 

Pribble received his bachelor’s degree in 2007 and his master’s in 2008 from the University of California-Berkeley. He walked-on during his freshman season and played in 76 games for the Bears during his four-year intercollegiate career. He received a scholarship at Cal after his sophomore season, and was named team captain as a senior when he played in 29 games and started eight.
He was twice named to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team and was a two-time recipient of the Cal Hustle Award. He was also selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court and played in the inaugural Maccabi Australia International games. 

The Fairfax, Calif., native graduated from Sir Francis Drake High School in 2003. He was the team’s leading scorer his senior season while earning league Most Valuable Player honors. Pribble also was a two-time All-Bay Area selection.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eagles Lend a Helping Hand

Members of the EWU Men’s basketball team took time out of their busy schedules to lend a helping hand last week. Partnered with the Salvation Army of Spokane the players helped hand out over 4,000 backpacks fully stocked with school supplies to children who are heading back to school.


 The kids were very excited to meet the players and get their new backpacks

Parker Kelly helping a young lady pick out her backpack

Over 1,000 backpacks were handed out within the first hour

Thomas Reuter and Parker Kelly posing with a fellow Eagles fan and Salvation Army volunteer

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Challenging Schedule Includes East Coast Trip

The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team will get a taste of the new and old Big East Conference this winter.
The 31-game schedule for the Eagles includes a trip to the East Coast to play Connecticut and Seton Hall, as well as six opponents which played in national postseason tournaments a year ago. The schedule, announced by third-year head coach Jim Hayford, includes 20 Big Sky Conference games and a total of 14 home contests.
“I think the Big Sky Conference is going to be more difficult -- there are many teams returning solid rosters,” Hayford said. “We have a very challenging preseason that will prepare us for a great conference season.”
“The East Coast trip jumps out at you -- it is an excellent opportunity for our guys to see a different part of the country and to experience playing against one of the nation’s elite programs,” said Hayford. “I know the guys are looking forward to that trip.”
Eastern’s preseason also includes a trip to Seattle to play Washington from the Pac-12 Conference. Eastern’s non-conference home games include Pacific University, Walla Walla, Seattle and UC Irvine.
“It will be the first time since I have been the head coach that we have played the Huskies and traveled over to Seattle,” said Hayford. “It is always a neat challenge to see how we stack up against the larger schools in the state.”
In all, Eastern’s 2013-14 schedule includes 10 games versus six schools who participated in national postseason tournaments a year ago. Eastern will play six games against those opponents on the road, and four games at home.
The Big Sky Conference Tournament will take place March 13-15 at the site of the regular season champion. For the second-straight year, it will include seven teams, with the regular season champion receiving a first-round bye. The tournament will include a quarterfinal round with six of the teams playing, followed by semifinals and the championship game.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eastern Receives Inaugural NABC Team Academic Excellence Award

Eagles are one of 96 colleges at all levels to receive team recognition by the National Association of Basketball Coaches

The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team is among the 96 schools nationally to receive the inaugural Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). The recipients of the award, which was created by the NABC Committee on Academics, were announced Thursday (July 18).

The award recognizes outstanding academic achievement by teams with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better for the 2012-13 season. In order to earn a NABC Team Academic Excellence Award, an institution must count the grade point averages of all men’s student-athletes competing during the 2012-13 season in NCAA Division I, II, III, and NAIA Division I and II.
Following the spring academic quarter at EWU, Eastern’s men’s basketball players have an average cumulative grade point average of 3.35, and a quarterly GPA of 3.28. In fact, all of Eastern’s sports programs boast an average cumulative GPA above 3.0, with a collective grade point average of 3.27. In spring quarter, Eastern student-athletes had a collective 3.20 GPA.

Coached by head coach Jim Hayford, members of the 2012-13 team included Collin Chiverton, Ivan Dorsey, Jeffrey Forbes, Tyler Harvey, Jordan Hickert, Daniel Hill, Venky Jois, Frederik Jorg, Parker Kelly, Thomas Reuter, Martin Seiferth and Kevin Winford, with Danny Powell and Garrett Moon redshirting.

On July 17, Winford and Hickert were honored on the NABC Honors Court. Those two players, plus Dorsey, Harvey, Hill, Kelly, Jois, Jorg and Reuter, were also honored on the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team for the 2012-13 season.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


 Spokane Hoopfest

Located just 15 minutes from the Eastern Washington campus, Spokane hosts the biggest basketball event in the Northwest; Hoopfest.  Hoopfest is the biggest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament on the planet. That means over 7,000 teams, 3,000 volunteers, 250,000 fans, 458 courts spanning 42 downtown city blocks. It’s safe to say that Eastern Washington is a passionate basketball community!

7,070 teams

27,896 players

454 courts

3,000 volunteers

42 city blocks

Parker Kelly, Garrett Moon, Tyler Harvey, and Fred Jorg were all in the Eastern Washington Booth in Riverfront Park signing autographs and taking pictures with kids throughout Hoopfest Weekend.

Spokesman Review-

Even in a crowd of tens of thousands, Eastern Washington University basketball player Frederik Jörg stood out. At 7-foot-1, Jorg, a native of Korschenbroich, Germany, had a great chance to survey the sights and sounds of Hoopfest. “There’s nothing like it in Germany, not even close,” Jörg said as he walked through Riverfront Park with teammate Garrett Moon.
“I think it’s excellent, just sharing the love of basketall,” Jörg said. Jörg and Moon said they’d like to play, but that’s not an option for active college players. Not so for recent EWU alum Kevin Winford, who was parked at Nike Centre Court for the elite games. Winford, who just completed four years in Cheney, said he’d planned on competing with some former teammates, “but I didn’t get my registration in on time.” “Next time for sure,” Winford said.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bill Chaves Honored With Athletic Director of the Year Honor

Eastern Washington University Athletic Director Bill Chaves has been honored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics as one of 28 winners of the Under Armour AD of the Year Award. Chaves is concluding his sixth year at the helm of the EWU Athletic Department.
"This is a tremendous honor for the work that has been done by our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” said Chaves. “We also would not have success without the support of the Eastern Board of Trustees, President Dr. Rodolfo Arevalo and the entire Eastern community.”
Chaves has brought stability, progressive leadership and innovation to Eastern since his arrival in 2007. His tenure has been punctuated by the installation of the first red synthetic football surface world-wide in 2010. After garnering tremendous attention for EWU with this installation, the football team promptly went undefeated (8-0) on the turf en route to the program’s first-ever FCS national title.
Chaves has also overseen several recently-completed projects, including new seating at Reese Court, a $1.5 million locker room update project, and video board installation at both Roos Field and Reese Court.
Currently, all of EWU’s athletic programs have team grade point averages of 3.0 or greater, and all of its teams have a NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 930 or better. In 2009-10, EWU won its first-ever Big Sky Presidents’ Cup, which is determined by overall athletic and academic performance.
Away from the classroom and playing fields, Chaves initiated a partnership with Special Olympics-Washington, where all of its athletic programs assist with several initiatives each academic year.
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Executive Director Bob Vecchione explains the ADOY Award is essential because it highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student- athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Team Legans wins paintball battle.

The guys took a break from the hardwood and went to the EWU paintball course for some fun. In an intense series of capture the flag Coach Legan's team took out Coach Ehlo's team 4-2 on a final flag run by Tyler Harvey.
Coach Ehlo planning his team's all-out flag run (brave effort, but everyone got hit)
The barricades couldn't hide Big Fred
Venky Jois gets in the zone before the game
Team Ehlo before the first game of the series

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nine men’s basketball players named to the All-Academic Team

A total of 50 Eastern Washington University student-athletes have been honored on the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team for winter quarter 2013. Of the total, 23 were from the women's indoor track and field team, 10 from the men's indoor squad, eight from women's basketball and a best-ever nine from the men's basketball team. 

To qualify for the All-Academic squad, student-athletes must maintain a 3.20 cumulative grade point average or better at EWU and meet the requirement of playing in at least half of the team's competitions. 

Kevin Winford
Anchorage, Alaska / Bartlett HS '08
Tyler Harvey
Torrance, CA. / Bishop Montgomery HS '11
Jordan Hickert
Bunbury, Australia / Bunbury HS '07 / Neosho County CC
Daniel Hill
Sydney, Australia / Newington College HS '11
Parker Kelly
Spokane, Wash. / Gonzaga Prep '11
Venky Jois
Boronia, Australia / Box Hill HS' 11
Frederik Jorg
Korschenbroich, Germany / Gymnasium Eversten HS '12
Thomas Reuter
Breckerfeld, Germany / Theodor-Heuss Gymnasium HS '11
Ivan Dorsey
San Francisco, CA / Archbishop Riordan HS ’10 City Col. of SF

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Eagles Sign Two More Men’s Basketball Players

Playing for highly-successful teams, Drew Brandon and Ognjen Miljkovic added to Jim Hayford’s recruiting class

Eastern Washington University men’s basketball coach Jim Hayford has added to his 2013 recruiting class by signing junior college point guard Drew Brandon and 6-foot-7 forward Ognjen Miljkovic from Bishop Montgomery High School in California to letters of intent to attend EWU and play for the Eagles next year.
The 6-foot-3 Brandon played for Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif., and is originally from Corona, Calif., where he attended Santiago High School. In his second year at Sierra, the Wolverines finished 19-8. He had a 38-point performance last January to help him earn player of the month accolades among all California junior colleges.
“We are really excited to sign Drew,” said Hayford. “We feel like he is one of the top junior college point guards on the West Coast. He came from a very successful program at Sierra College with an outstanding coach I have known for 20 years, John Fusano. He raves about Drew’s ability. What impresses us the most is that he is a three-dimensional player, meaning he can shoot the ball, he can drive the ball and he can pass the ball. He gives us great size in the point guard position.”
Miljkovic is from Belgrade, Serbia, but played his last two years at Bishop Montgomery, which was 33-2 overall in the 2012-13 season and was at one point ranked No. 8 nationally. His first name is pronounced  “Ahg-nehn” and his last name is pronounced “Meal-ko-vich.” Although they never played together, Eastern guard Tyler Harvey also played for Bishop Montgomery, which had four players from this year’s team sign with NCAA Division I schools.
 “Ognjen joins us after two years at one of the top high school programs in California at Bishop Montgomery High School,” Hayford said. “He played for coach Doug Mitchell, who is an outstanding coach. It is the same program we were able to recruit Tyler Harvey from. We feel he is the type of player that will fit very well in our system. He is a big man who can shoot the three-point shot, but he has multiple offensive skills. Ognjen had a number of options of schools he could have chosen from, and we are really excited he selected Eastern Washington.”
Previously signed high school players by the Eagles include Australian forward Felix Von Hofe and guard Sir Washington from Las Vegas, Nev.
“When you look at this class as a whole with Sir Washington and Felix Von Hofe, I feel like we have added the next layer of the base that we needed to have,” added Hayford, who is entering his third year at the helm. “That base will enable our program to sustain success year-to-year.”

Drew Brandon  - G, 6-3, 180, Jr., JC, Corona, Calif. / Santiago HS ’10 / Sierra College, Calif.

JC: Played two seasons at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif. In his sophomore season, Brandon was a first team All-Big 8 Conference selection and earned honorable mention All-State accolades. He finished the year averaging 15.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Brandon was named the 2013 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) and California Community College Sports Information Association Male Athlete of the Month for January. In seven games in January, he averaged 19.3 points, 7.7 assists, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.9 steals per game. On Jan. 25 against American River College, Brandon scored 38 points, pulled in nine boards, handed out nine assists, and had four steals. He scored 11 of Sierra’s final 13 points in the 77-66 victory. Said Wolverine Head Coach John Fusano: “Maybe only one other time in all my years of coaching, have I seen an individual performance like Drew had against ARC. ARC came in poised to beat us and Drew made sure that didn’t happen.” Sierra went on to finish 19-8 overall and 10-4 in the Big 8 Conference . The Wolverines were ranked in the top 10 among all California junior colleges, and lost 64-60 to West Valley in the second round of the CCCAA Playoffs. As a freshman, he earned honorable mention All-Big 8 honors.
HS: Graduated from Santiago High School in 2010. He played two years of varsity basketball for head coach David Humphries. As a senior he averaged 16.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 1.1 assists per game in helping the team finish 13-15. He scored 20 or more points nine times in his senior season as he earned first team all-league honors.
Personal: Parents are Gregory and Janet Brandon. Is considering majoring in communications.

Ognjen Miljkovic – F, 6-7, 220, Fr., HS, Belgrade, Serbia / Bishop Montgomery HS ’13 in California

HS: Miljkovic is from Belgrade, Serbia, but played his last two years at Bishop Montgomery High School. The Knights were 33-2 overall in the 2012-13 season and was at one point ranked No. 8 nationally and second among high schools in California. Bishop Montgomery won four games to capture the Southern Section of the CIF Playoffs, then won three games in the CIF Division IV State Tournament. The team’s outstanding season came to an end with a 73-69 loss to Pacific Hills in the semifinals. As a senior, he averaged 17 points and nine rebounds per game to earn All-Del Rey League accolades. He scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter when the Knights improved to 19-0 on the season with a 74-63 victory on Jan. 13 over St. John Bosco. He played in a pair of all-star games following his senior season. As a junior, the Knights finished 23-5 and lost in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Playoffs. Three of his teammates also signed with NCAA Division I schools in 2013 -- Lamond Murray (Pepperdine), Stefan Jovanovic (Hawaii) and Niko Filipovich (Hawaii). Although they never played together in high school, Eastern guard Tyler Harvey also played for Bishop Montgomery. Miljkovic also played for the Pump n’ Run AAU basketball team in California. While in Serbia, Miljkovic competed internationally on several national youth teams in Serbia.
Personal: Born 12/28/93 in Belgrade, Serbia. Nickname is “O.G.” and is used a lot in place of his difficult-to-pronounce first name. Parents are Rade and Danijela Miljkovic. Name is pronounced  “Ahg-nehn Meal-ko-vich.”