Purdue’s Nojel Eastern enters the Transfer Portal
Nojel Eastern, who has spent 3 years at Purdue decided Tuesday that he would be transferring. The 6’7 Guard/Forward is moving on from the Boilermakers it’s not certain that he’s a Grad Transfer, although its hard to believe that he wouldn’t transfer, if he didn’t think he would be a grad transfer. Eastern has started 62 games in his career in West Lafayette and he played a huge role in their 2018-19 elite eight run.
Eastern is a limited scorer but he’s an extremely athletic guard, that is a good passer and an elite defender who can truly defend 1-5. Eastern was never asked to play big role offensively and that could be what he’s looking for. It is unknown what role he will play at his next school, he can play guard or even forward and he can pass the ball well down-low and on the perimeter.
Matt Painter has now lost Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern to transfer. Purdue likely would’ve missed out on the tournament last season and they might miss it this upcoming season too, even with a strong recruiting class they lose 2 key pieces. Now I’ll examine some schools that could be in the running for Eastern’s services. Eastern had 4 PPG/4RPG last season, but 2 seasons ago he had 7 PPG/5RPG.
DePaul: Eastern is from Illinois and they seem to be in on every transfer so they’ll talk to Eastern. He would likely start at the Point Guard spot as a big 1 guard. Having Charlie Moore play more as a shooting guard off the ball which I’ve seen Dave Leitao wants to do. It is hard to imagine DePaul ends up being the landing spot though based on the caliber of schools that will contact him
Michigan State: Tom Izzo and Dwayne Stephens heavily recruited Eastern our of high school and ultimately lost to Purdue. With Tillman and Winston likely out the door they could be looking for some height and another ball-handler and Eastern can play and excel at all those spots defensively. I’d expect MSU to be all over Eastern this time around also.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils really want to add anyone with experience and size. Eastern probably doesn’t fit in if Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge are back for another season, however, if they leave the Sun Devils could definitely use another guard.
VCU- Mike Rhoades loses Santos-Silva to Texas Tech and missed out on Galin Smith, he could play guard at VCU, along with Bones Hyland and he would definitely have a big role for the Rams.
Northwestern: This one is strictly based on if he wants to come right back home to Evanston, IL. Chris Collins recruited Eastern in High School and he didn’t go to Northwestern, but with the COVID-19 Pandemic, he may want to be home. He would be a star as a Wildcat, along with rising Sophomore Boo Buie but will that become a team that is capable of winning more than 12 games, so it depends what Eastern prioritizes most in his next stop with Northwestern.
Kentucky: DeAndre Williams is dragging out his recruitment and makes it look less likely he’s going to Kentucky. Coach Cal has 2 open spots, and one could be used on Eastern. They could use a veteran with elite defensive ability. Even if they land Williams, they can still get Eastern. I’m not sure Eastern would pick Kentucky if Williams goes their but we’ll see what happens in Lexington.
Memphis: Coach Hardaway is looking for someone like Eastern who can play a bigger position. They have been linked to DeAndre Williams and Romello White, but Hardaway will definitely be interested in Eastern. He will have more experience than anyone on that roster and he has played deep into the NCAA Tournament. Plus playing for someone who played as a bigger guard at an elite level, Eastern might see an opportunity to develop.
Prediction: Kentucky for now. That could change when he cuts his list at some point but for now, I’m saying he’ll be a Wildcat. There’s a lot to like there for Eastern and even if DeAndre Williams goes to Kentucky. Eastern will play a large role and he could try to develop offensively.