WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — On Tuesday afternoon, Nojel Eastern submitted his name into the NCAA transfer portal. The rising senior joins Matt Haarms, who has since committed to BYU, as the second Purdue player to enter the portal since the end of the season in March.
Athletes who enter the transfer portal can search for potential landing spots while also having the ability to return to their original program if they so choose. That doesn't appear to be an option in this case.
Eastern tweeted "Thank you Purdue," on Tuesday.
The two-time Big Ten All-Defensive team honoree entered his name into the NBA Draft two weeks ago, but most likely decided on that to gain feedback from NBA teams on what to improve in his game.
Eastern's sophomore season was his best with the Boilermakers when he averaged 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. His production fell this past season, however, as he only averaged 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds a game.
Purdue will now have to replace their assists (85) and steals (33) leader from last season. The 6-foot-7 point guard was also the Boilermakers' best on-ball defender and had the versatility to guard nearly anyone on the court.
Eastern has played 104 games, starting 62 of them, donning the gold and black and his experience might be the largest loss. With Haarms and Eastern gone, Purdue's depth is certainly in question, and young players will need to step up quickly in the 2020-21 season.
The university did sent out a short release later in the day that Eastern had indeed entered the transfer portal, according to Purdue coach Matt Painter.