Eastern Opts For The Big Ten 

By Roy & Harv Schmidt

November 16, 2015

3:45 P.M. CST

One would be hard-pressed to come up with a recruitment anywhere in the country that has been kept closer to the vest than that of Nojel Eastern.  And with honest, straight-forward information being difficult to come by throughout the process due to the protective nature of those around him, it meant having to really dig hard to find out the one thing that would stand out above all else with respect to Eastern's final decision.

In the end, however, that single factor proved to be the difference with respect to tipping the scale in favor of the school that Eastern wound up selecting.  As a result, the 6'6 2017 guard from Evanston Township High School in Evanston, IL announced at a press conference at his school this afternoon that he has committed and signed a letter of intent with Purdue University and head coach Matt Painter.

Eastern chose the Boilermakers over scholarship offers from DePaul, Michigan State, Ohio State and Seton Hall.  He took official visits to all five schools.

Above all else, Purdue was able to win Eastern over as the result of loyalty.  And it extended far deeper than simply being one of the earliest schools to offer him a scholarship or being the first school that Eastern decided to take an official visit to.  It involved a promise that Painter had made to Eastern from the time he began recruiting him.

While most of the other schools that recruited Eastern were looking at him as a swingman or multi-position player, Painter told Eastern from the get-go that he was recruiting him solely as a point guard.  This is of foremost importance because that is the position Eastern wants to play in college.

With that being said, Painter sees Eastern as the missing piece in the puzzle for a team that is already well-stacked with quality big men.  Eastern is talented enough to be able to step in immediately and run the show for the Boilermakers and Painter is quite confident with putting the ball in his hands from day one.

Kudos also go out to assistant coach Brandon Brantley, who was the Boilermakers' lead recruiter for Eastern.  Like Painter, Brantley let it be known to Eastern that he was a top-priority recruit and that they were looking at him as the one to run the offense and contribute instantly at the point guard spot.

Eastern shows a degree of maturity that goes well beyond his years.  He sports considerable toughness, is a leader on the floor and his mental approach to the game is as good as it gets.  While he is also adept at the 2 or even the 3, Eastern has a tremendous feel for the point guard spot and with the exception of occasionally forcing some shots is a good decision-maker who has the ability to make all of his teammates better.  He also has legit 3-point range and can break down defenses and consistently get to the basket.  Eastern ranks as Illinois Prep Bulls-eye's #3 prospect in Illinois from the 2017 class.

With Eastern's commitment he becomes the fourth member of the 2017 recruiting class for Painter and the Boilermakers. He joins 6'8 wing forward Aaron Wheeler of Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH; 7'2 center Matt Haarms of Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, KS and 6'9 wing forward Eden Ewing of Tyler Junior College in Texas.


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