Howard's recruiting momentum continued on Thursday when the Bison landed a commitment from former Purdue starter Nojel Eastern, a 6-foot-7 wing with 104 games of Big Ten experience.
Eastern is expected to need an NCAA waiver if he is going to be eligible for the 2020-21 season but is a huge pickup for Howard coach Kenneth Blakeney, who is entering his second season as coach of one of the nation's premiere schools in the group of Historic Black College and Universities.
For the culture✊🏾 #WhyNot #HBCU #COMMITTED pic.twitter.com/S1e96GjYxL— Nojel Eastern (@NEblessed_20) August 6, 2020
Five-star prospect Makur Maker recently brought Howard's program into the spotlight when he committed to the Bison over professional options and offers from college programs such as Kentucky, Memphis and UCLA. Eastern's commitment is further affirmation that other high-caliber players are taking HBCU options seriously in the recruiting process.
The former top-100 prospect has one season of collegiate eligibility remaining after playing a key role for the Boilermakers over the past three seasons. Eastern averaged 4.9 points and 2.7 assists on 42% shooting as a junior last season after averaging 7.5 points and 2.5 assists on 49.5% shooting as a sophomore.
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Though he regressed as a junior, Eastern could be a star once he is eligible at Howard. The Bison struggled to a 4-29 record last season and have not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 1992.
Eastern initially indicated that he planned to transfer to Michigan but later disclosed that he was not admitted to the school "because of many credits that weren't transferable because of my Major."