Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern headed to Michigan

Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern announced Thursday that he has committed to Michigan.

Eastern entered the transfer portal on Tuesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-7 junior guard was a staple in the Boilermakers' rotation during his career in West Lafayette, appearing in 37 games off the bench as a freshman and starting 62 games the past two seasons. He averaged 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds last season, a step back from his 2018-19 campaign.

As a sophomore, Eastern averaged 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists as Purdue advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to Virginia.

Eastern, who's from Evanston, Illinois, was ranked No. 84 in the ESPN 100 coming out of high school. He's a capable playmaker for his size but shot just 3-for-16 from 3-point range during his career at Purdue.

Eastern was not in the transfer portal as a graduate transfer, meaning he likely will have to sit out the 2020-21 season before playing his final year in 2021-22.

Eastern was the second surprising departure from Purdue this spring, following center Matt Haarms, who ended up at BYU. Purdue coach Matt Painter appeared on The Dan Dakich Show on Wednesday and discussed the transfers of the two players.

"I don't mean to hurt anybody's feelings, because I like the guys who have left my program. I like both of them. But transfers don't get drafted very much. It's a very, very small percentage," Painter said. "What I look at more than anything is embrace problems and embrace adversity and fight it. Don't run from it. When you run from it and your work ethic isn't at a high, high level like a Carsen Edwards or a Caleb Swanigan ... that's the one thing that's not gonna change.

"We tried to play Trevion Williams and [Haarms] together, and it didn't work," Painter added. "In reality, Trevion Williams beat him out. That's it. ... You might've got your degree from Purdue, but you're not a Boilermaker if you walk out the door at the end and say, 'Hey, I want to make the league.' Well, guys who make the league work hard like Carsen Edwards and Caleb Swanigan. I didn't see that from him. Did he work hard in practice? Sure. Did he work hard in games? Sure. Was he a good player for us? Yes. But if you take him and rank him against those guys I just mentioned, where would you rank him? So Trevion Williams beat him out, and if he wants to move on, then that's his choice.

"When you look at the people that have been here when Nojel's been here ... all those guys improved and then you didn't improve," he continued. "He made a really good jump, Nojel, from his freshman to his sophomore year, and then he took a step back this year. ... Now you become the outlier. The other guys got better. The other guys improved."