The dominoes continue to fall in West Lafayette as a second player from Matt Painter’s 2019-20 Purdue squad entered college basketball’s transfer portal on Tuesday.
This time it was Nojel Eastern. Highly regarded for his on-ball defensive ability, the guard/forward hybrid will pursue other options for his senior season of eligibility. Eastern follows in the footsteps of big man Matt Haarms, whose freakishly long frame and loud on-court antics will head to BYU this November.
Coach Painter came on Wednesday’s Dan Dakich Show to talk about the two transfers, and he didn’t hold back.
“These guys are like, ‘Hey, I want to be a pro.’ Well, why don’t we be All-Conference in college first?” Painter told Dan. “Why don’t we try that out? And so you get guys that’ll average four points, or six points, or nine points, or ten points and say, ‘Coach, I want you to develop me into a pro.’ Like, well, why don’t you work like a pro?”
“I don’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings, cause I like the guys that have left my program, I like both of them. But transfers don’t get drafted very much…Embrace problems and embrace adversity and fight it. Don’t run from it.”
Eastern’s transfer has been magnified by comments that his mom made on social media and on Purdue message boards. Exhibit A:
Guess we’ll see a jump shot don’t define him that fixable he has the work ethic he impacts games in many ways and all of what he does from his size Length athleticism defense IQ vision passing and ball handling skills are transferable to what nba look for. High character as well
— Tamala Reed (@ReedTamala) April 28, 2020
“[Nojel] made a really good jump from his freshman to his sophomore year, and then he took a step back this year,” Painter said. “And when you do that, and you have lack of production and you don’t play well, and now it’s your turn. Well, you know, I don’t know what to say there because now you become the outlier.”
“The other guys (Hunter, Jr. and Stefanovic) got better. The other guys improved, but the other guys also stayed and fought through adversity. Now you walk out the door after you put your name in the draft twice, when you average four points. So to me, and I love him, but [Eastern’s] gotta check his hole card.”
Painter on Matt Haarms:
“In reality, Trevion Williams beat him out…You might have got your degree from Purdue, but you’re not a Boilermaker if you walk out the door at the end and say, ‘Hey, I wanna make the league.’”
“Guys that wanna make the league work like Carsen Edwards and Caleb Swanigan. I didn’t see that from [Haarms].”
Sometimes the truth hurts. Now Coach Painter and the Boilermakers will focus on bringing along a new crop of young talent, including ESPN Top 100 freshmen Ethan Morton and Jaden Ivey. If these guys can stay committed to the program, Purdue will find success again soon enough.
Be sure to catch the full interview below, and remember to subscribe to The Dan Dakich Show Podcast.