Friday, November 28, 2014

Big Sky Big Men Comparison

Joel Bolomboy (#21)
photo from Denis Poroy, AP
via Deseret News
Venky Jois (#55) 
photo from
Good morning Eagle Fans!  I spent the morning perusing the Internet for interesting stories on EWU Hoops to share for this morning links and found this gem from, a preseason list of the top 15 Big Men to watch in 2014-2015, the only Big Sky player listed?  Joel Bolomboy (Weber State).  The Junior Forward is a fantastic rebounder and is scoring nearly 17 points a game so far this season.

The article made me wonder how Bolomboy stacks up with Eastern's own star Junior Forward, Venky Jois.  Continue reading after the break to find out how these two players compare.

Let me start by first saying that there is no question that up until now Bolomboy's Weber State teams have been far more successful and that I have not had a chance to see as much of Bolomboy's play as I have of Jois, since I cover the Eagle's and not the Big Sky in general.

The general feel of the comparison from the articles I've read is that Bolomboy is a true star with NBA potential while Jois is a rising star with relentless effort that may outplay his talent.  Bolomboy is 1 inch taller at 6'9" and about 5 pounds lighter at 225 lbs than Jois.

A comparison of their game logs shows that both players have shown up big in big time games, the only notable exceptions are: for Bolomboy during Weber State's run to the CIT Championship game in his Freshman season his points, minutes and even rebounds all fell off substantially and Jois just has not played in as many big time games, though he has struggled somewhat, especially his freshman and sophomore seasons, against Pac-12 and WCC opponents.

Statistically speaking, the two are extremely close in their production.  Jois holds significant advantages in Points (13.21 - 8.38 per game), Assists (2.3 to 0.5 per game), Blocks (2.0 to 1.38 per game) and Steals (0.95 to 0.47).  Bolomboy holds the edge in Rebounds (8.95 to 8.48 per game), Personal Fouls (2.33 to 2.38 per game) and Turn Overs (1.73 to 2.52 per game).

Take a look at this chart showing their season and career average statistics, I hope the formatting isn't too difficult to deal with!

Jois Bolomboy
2012-13 EWU 32.7 4.6-9.3 49.00% 0.0-0.1 0.00% 3.2-4.5 71.20% 9 2 2.4 0.9 2.4 2.5 12.3
2012-13 WEB 21.7 2.3-4.0 57.80% 0.0-0.0 0.00% 2.4-3.5 69.50% 7.1 0.4 1.7 0.4 2.3 1.6 7
2013-14 EWU 31.8 5.2-9.8 52.80% 0.0-0.3 11.10% 3.0-5.7 52.80% 8 2.5 1.6 0.9 2.5 2.6 13.4
2013-14 WEB 30.1 2.8-5.7 48.80% 0.0-0.0 100.00% 3.1-4.3 72.90% 11 0.6 0.8 0.5 2.5 1.5 8.7
2014-15 EWU 30.3 7.2-10.8 66.20% 0.2-0.5 33.30% 2.0-5.5 36.40% 8.8 2.7 2.5 1.7 1.5 2.5 16.5
2014-15 WEB 34.6 4.8-10.0 48.00% 0.4-0.8 50.00% 6.6-7.6 86.80% 10.8 0.6 2.4 1 1.6 4.4 16.6
Career 65 32 5.09-9.67 52.60% 0.03-0.23 13.33% 3-5.16 58.03% 8.49 2.30 2.00 0.95 2.38 2.52 13.21
Career 72 26.09 2.67-5.09 52.31% 0.04-0.07 60.00% 3-4.10 73.22% 8.95 0.50 1.38 0.47 2.33 1.73 8.38

It appears that Bolomboy has played in more significant games against better competition than Jois so far, although they both play most of their games in the Big Sky so the disparity is not as large as it might be otherwise.  Bolomboy has played in 7 more games than Jois, but averages far fewer minutes per game (although this is primarily a result of not playing as much his freshman season and since the gap has significantly narrowed).

The last bit of comparison I'd like to point out is their head to head match-ups, they've played 4 games 2 home games for each team.  Jois and Eastern have lost all 4 games.  Statistically, here's how they each fared in total:

In their first match up on December 20th, 2012, Jois started and led all players in minutes (36) and points (21), he added 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals and 1 assist.  Bolomboy played 22 minutes off the bench and led all players with 12 rebounds and added 9 points with 4 blocks.  Both players had 1 turnover and Bolomboy had 4 personal fouls while Jois had 3.  The Wildcats won 74-53 at Reese Court.

Their second match up came on March 9th, 2013 at Dee Events Center in Ogden.  Bolomboy came off the bench for 26 minutes, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, 1 steal and 5 turnovers.  Jois started and played 34 minutes.  He finished with 9 rebounds, 8 points, 2 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 2 personal fouls.  Again the Wildcats won, this time 65-57.

The third match up was again held in Ogden, on January 2nd, 2014, again a Weber State victory, 74-67.  Bolomboy earned a double - double in his first start against Eastern with 13 points and 12 rebounds and added 1 steal and 1 block in 31 minutes.  Jois was held to just 26 minutes of playing time and netted 8 points and 3 rebounds.  Most tellingly, Jois had a chance to make it a one point game with a minute to go, but was blocked by Bolomboy who then hit a critical FT to help the Wildcats secure the win.

The last time these two teams met, Eastern needed a win to get into the Big Sky Conference Tournament.  They came up short in Cheney losing 82-78.  Bolomboy again had a double - double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.  He added 2 blocks and played a total of 35 minutes.  Jois had 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block in 29 minutes.  Venky shot just 4 of 9 from the field, below his season average of 52.8%.

The result of the comparison, in my view, is that Bolomboy is the better player, but the margin is not wide.  Jois has produced more in every category except rebounds and the all important wins.  This is a match up I will personally be looking forward to seeing in the 2014-2015 season.  The Eagles open conference play on January 1st hosting Weber State at Reese Court and they close conference play in at Dee Events Center on March 7th.  The winner of these match ups could play a significant role in who wins the Big Sky Regular season title.

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