Melbourne born Venky Jois has signed a two-year deal to play with Croatian team Vrijednosnice Osijek.
Jois, a former student at Box Hill Secondary College has been training with the Melbourne United until recently, including suiting up in their recent pre-season game against China.
After a four-year stint with Eastern Washington (Jois graduated with a pre-medicine major) Venky trialled with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors prior to the 2016 draft but was unsuccessful in acquiring an NBA contract.
Last season he chose to spend some time playing in Estonia with Tartu Ulikool last season before flirting with the idea of returning home and playing in the NBL. Jois was certainly spoiled for choice there, receiving offers from all but one NBL club, but ultimately decided a season in Europe would give him the best chance of being seen by NBA teams and allow him to reach his NBA dream.
“I’ve passed on Australia, we had a number of good offers, and I’ve met some of the guys that will potentially be on the teams. Realistically, it would’ve been a really good fit, as far as basketball, lifestyle, everything”
“I need to give the European pathway a reach chance before I look (playing NBL). One breakout season over there and it could really change things for me” Joyce told Aussie Hoopla before boarding a plane to Croatia.
While playing for Tartu in the Basketball Champions League, FIBA Europe Cup and Baltic Leagues last season, the 202cm forward posted quality numbers across the board. 7 points and 12 rebounds the Basketball Champions League, 8.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in FIBA’s Europe Cup and 3.6 points with 3.9 rebounds in the Baltic League games.
Jois explained that playing with one of the best teams in Estonia and having the chance to play in a number of intercontinental leagues was an invaluable experience. He also feels the European style of play will suit his game a little more which will influence NBA scouts.
“I think, with the European style of play, there’s more teamwork, there’s more good shots, more spacing; so I think I can try to play a little more, dish off some assists to try to be a team player” said Joyce.
Venky’s new team Osijek, is a team on the rise having moved from cellar-dwellers to the middle of the ladder last season. Jois now hopes he can lift them to the next level and playoff success.
While playing for Eastern Washington, Jois put together a record-setting career, he currently holds eight of the school’s records in points, field goal percentage, dunks and blocks among others while also helping the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament in his senior year.
His ability to finish above the rim and rebound puts in an elite group and many NBL coaches believe he will be a part of the Australian national team in the near future and Jois has already shown he can perform when the lights are brightest.
In 2015 Joyce’s efforts at both ends of the court resulted in one of Eastern Washington’s most successful seasons. He shut down Montana’s front line in the Big Sky championship, which the Eagles won 69-65 to give them an invitation to the NCAA tournament.
The Eagles fell to Georgetown in their first game but Jois exploded with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks, which gained the attention of a number of NBA scouts.
Although the 2016 draft didn’t go as planned, Jois feels that with another year of development, the NBA is still within his grasp.
“I definitely see the NBA as a goal,” Jois said.
“Whatever option gets me there, or at least has the biggest chance of getting me there, I want to take. I believe in myself, and exposure is the only thing that’s holding me back from giving it a real crack.”