Thank you Purdue🖤💛
— Nojel Eastern (@NEblessed_20) May 12, 2020
Just about two weeks ago it was reported that Eastern would test the NBA draft waters. Eastern now joins fellow senior to be, Matt Haarms in transferring from Purdue, a move that was just as shocking. So why is Eastern transferring and what does this mean for Purdue?
The reason why Eastern is transferring is definitely a good question and one that does not have an obvious answer. When looking at why most guys transfer schools it usually has something to do with 3 different things. Those three things are playing time, wanting to play for a winning team or move closer to home.
When it comes to playing time it really didn’t seem like this was an issue, as Eastern averaged over 25 minutes per game which ranked 3rd on the team. Eastern’s experience likely would have also probably helped that trend continue next season. Wanting to play for a winning team, wouldn’t be too surprising but Eastern was a part of one of best teams in the nation in 2018 ago and a team won the big ten while almost making it to the final four. Really this past season felt like a down year with a lot of youth, that would come back strong this season. Location almost certainly had nothing to do with it as it was just an hour or two away from where he grew up in Evanston, Illinois.
More likely than not this was probably just Eastern seeking a fresh start. Since committing to Purdue, the former 4-star recruit has had some high expectations that were definitely tough to reach. Being as things did not work out as planned, it’s likely Eastern is just just going to see if he can get in a new environment, work hard and hope that he’ll have more success elsewhere.
Where Purdue Goes From Here
Eastern’s transfer will open up another scholarship for next season, as Purdue will now have two available to use for grad transfers, if that’s the route Matt Painter wants to go. With that being said, this is pretty late to go that route and not many guys available. There is always a chance someone Purdue will like comes available late, as one of it’s best grad transfers ever, Jon Octeus, didn’t even commit to Purdue until a month before the season.
In terms of depth at Point Guard, Purdue will rely on some youth to lead the offense. Sophomore Isaiah Thompson will be the only true point guard returning, having played over 18 minutes per game while averaging over 5 points a game. Purdue will also have 4 Star commit Ethan Morton coming in as a freshman. Morton physically is a very similar player as Eastern at 6’6”, but seems to be a more consistent shooter. Coach Matt Painter has also raved about Morton as a passer.
Overall, this is the second player to transfer from Purdue that comes as a huge surprise. Both Eastern and Haarms were going to be seen as the leaders of the team in the 2020/21 season, as the only two seniors on the team. Coming off a disappointing season, Purdue will have to hope they can rely on leadership elsewhere on the team. One positive about having a young team though will be knowing a lot of these guys will have a chance to grow and develop for the coming years.
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