On Eastern Washington's website, one of my favorite things is that on each player's page, there is a quote from head coach Jim Hayford. It's usually a one or two sentence blurb on the player, and can give a good indication of how the coaching staff views them or what their role might be this season. I thought it might be interesting to post those quotes here, along with a few takeaways.
F Ognjen Miljkovic (Fr) - “Ognjen joins us after two years at one of the top high school programs in California at Bishop Montgomery High School. It is the same program from where we recruited 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 excited he selected Eastern Washington.”
G Tyler Harvey (So) - “Tyler Harvey was the surprise of last year’s team. Now he will come in as a redshirt sophomore with three years of experience in the program and needs to validate the end of his freshman season. Tyler can shoot the ball from outside, he can score off the drive, and he is very respected by all his teammates. He is an outstanding young man that we are building our basketball program on.”
G Daniel Hill (So) - “Daniel Hill gives us depth in the backcourt, and he is an outstanding teammate. We look for Daniel to be a point guard in our system who gives us great shots and is able to lead our team while he is on the floor.”
F Danny Powell (Fr) - “Danny Powell redshirted last year as a freshman in our system. He is extremely talented and is capable of scoring inside and outside, off the dribble, facing the basket and with his back to the basket. I think he will bring us versatility in three positions. We are looking forward to Danny having an outstanding freshman season.”
G Parker Kelly (Jr) - “Parker is a team captain and he has the most experience of all of the players in the program. Both seasons Parker has been able to shoot over 40 percent from three-point-range. He had some very strong games at the conclusion of the conference season where he was scoring over 20 points. We need Parker to rebound more this year, and as his all-around game develops, he should have an outstanding junior year.”
G Sir Washington (Fr) - “Sir is a quality young man and a dynamic player. Sir will fit in well with our other young players to give us a foundation of five-year players in our program. This year he will concentrate on academic success and building physical strength.”
F Martin Seiferth (Jr) - “Martin returns as the leading field goal percentage shooter in the Big Sky, a top shot blocker and a top rebounder. As he is able to do those things consistently, he will prove to be a top big man in the Big Sky Conference. We are looking for Martin to have a consistent season as a frontcourt player for the Eagles.”
F Thomas Reuter (So) - “Thomas gained great experience last year. He had quality playing time as a freshman, and he had some standout games. The key for Thomas this year is to develop consistency. He can shoot the ball from the outside better than he did a year ago, and he will rebound better at his position. He has acclimated to a new country and to the U.S. college game. I expect him to have a much improved sophomore season.”
F Frederick Jorg (So) - “This year we will redshirt Fredrick Jörg. Fred has outstanding potential, and is committed to being the very best he can be. By redshirting him, it adds a year between Martin and him. That will be very helpful to our program, and to Fred his junior and senior years in terms of playing opportunity.”
G Drew Brandon (Jr) - “Drew comes to Eastern as 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. What impresses us the most is that Drew is a three-dimensional player, meaning he can shoot the ball, he can drive the ball and he can pass the ball. Drew gives us great size at the point guard position.”
F Garrett Moon (Jr) - “Garrett redshirted last year in our program. He gives us great versatility and athleticism off the bench. Garrett is a defensive stopper, and he is a very capable rebounder. Garrett is well-liked by his teammates, and is respected for the hard work he brings every day.”
F Felix Von Hofe (Fr) - “Felix is a great shooter and solid all-around player. He has competed at the highest level for his country and is the most acclaimed international recruit we have signed. He is an excellent student and will be a great addition to our campus community.”
F Venky Jois (So) - “Venky returns as the Big Sky freshman of the year, a top rebounder in the conference, and an overall average of double digit scoring as a freshman. Venky taking the next step as a player is one of the key ingredients for us to take that next step as a team. He is a man of outstanding character. He is a team captain as a sophomore. I expect him to lead us to the next level of success in our program.”
- It should jump out at you how young the Eagles are. They have no seniors on the roster and only four juniors. They should be improved from last year, but still expect some growing pains. I expect that we will see them grow a lot as the year goes on, and be seen as a top four team heading into next season, similar to Northern Colorado this year.
- When Daniel Hill arrived, I thought he would be the PG of the future for the Eagles. However, he didn't really separate himself last year when he got the chance, and I suspect Drew Brandon will be the Eagles PG. In Hayford's system, the PG always has the chance to put up big numbers, so look for Brandon to do some nice things this season.
- Last year, Frederick Jorg was raw. He is big and fairly mobile for someone his size, but he needed to improve his skills. Unfortunately, there weren't many extra minutes to go around. That makes the decision to redshirt him a good one.
- There will be some strong shot blockers in the Big Sky this year, with two of the better ones residing in Cheney. Venky Jois (66 blocks) and Martin Seiferth (68 blocks) are both solid. After averaging 12 and 9 last year as a freshman, it will be very interesting to see what Jois can do for an encore.
- With guys like Danny Powell, Felix Von Hofe, and Ognjen Miljkovic, there will be no shortage of guys that can play the three or four spots alongside Jois and Seiferth. None of these guys are household names yet, but they will all make an impact by the team they are done. Any team in the conference would be thrilled with a stable of young, athletic forwards like the Eagles have, not even counting in the fact that all are freshman (Powell with a redshirt).
- I worry about their backcourt depth. Parker Kelly is a nice player, but he might be a little too one-dimensional to be a good starter on a really good team. He is a great shooter, but might be more suited for a role off the bench. That puts a lot of pressure on Tyler Harvey, though if Harvey can continue and build on what he did at the end of last season, he will be a really good player.
Any thoughts on EWU? Where do you peg them this season?
Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball