Nojel Eastern has entered the transfer portal, becoming the second Purdue senior-to-be to announce a transfer in a few weeks. Previously, fellow rising senior Matt Haarms left Purdue for BYU.
Eastern is a 6-foot-6 guard who is a defensive stopper without a ton of offensive ability. Despite that lack of offensive punch, he and Haarms were expected to be leaders for the Boilermakers next season. Both were two of the better defensive players in the Big Ten and would have certainly helped next year's team with toughness. Eastern had developed into one of the nation's better perimeter defenders and was a two-time Big Ten All-Defensive Team selection for Purdue.
No one knows why Eastern and Haarms decided to move on, but Haarms saw his playing time reduced as a junior as he wound up in a bench role. Eastern would have likely had to fight for playing time in an increasingly crowded backcourt. Eric Hunter Jr., Sasha Stefanovic and Isaiah Thompson all played this year, while redshirt freshman Brandon Newman and incoming freshmen Ethan Morton and Jaden Ivey could all carve out minutes.
Eastern had a rough year offensively. He scored just 4.9 points per game and saw his field goal percentage drop to 42.0 and his free throw percentage fall to 48.5. He also hasn't hit a 3-pointer since January 31, 2018 during his freshman season. He's not an offensive threat at all right now. He also averaged 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 25.5 minutes per game.
Purdue will certainly suffer defensively with Haarms and Eastern gone and the roster now has no seniors on it. The flip-side is the offense may wind up being much smoother and feature more threats all over the floor. It will certainly be a different team than many expected.