Category: Latest News Written by Scott Burgess
Evanston High School incoming freshman point guard Nojel Eastern is one of the best prospects in the state early on in a loaded 2017 class. Eastern is a big point guard that has tremendous handles. He gets in and out of the defense in both transition and the half court. His ability to handle the ball in traffic and draw defenders makes life easier for his teammates.
Eastern is good at getting in the lane and dishing to open shooters. His vision is sick for a young playmaking guard. He can also score getting to the basket and with a nice lefty jump shot.
Thursday Eastern visited Illinois for the first time. The freshman walked us through what he did on the trip.
“What we did today was drove around campus and saw certain buildings for academic reasons. Also we saw the football field. We went to the basketball practice facility and to a room to watch a little film on the school’s basketball team. Also we went to the weight room. They talked about how they do things and the new technology there is awesome. We went to the boy’s locker room where they go before games. Talked about what they do before they go on the court and that stuff. Last, we went to the movie theater and watched what their offense looked like through a point guard perspective since that’s what I’m going to be. Overall wonderful visit, great campus, nice coaches, and all.”
He discussed what he was impressed with on the visit.
“The new things they are improving on like the gym, locker room, and everything that has to do with basketball. The weight training from the beginning to end and offense they run. You get freedom in the offense just like Coach Ellis’ offense. The way they help you for school on campus, away from campus, and the technology. That’s what impressed me the most.”
During the Chicago Summer Challenge Illini Head Coach John Groce was front and center to watch Eastern play in the 15U championship game. Did he notice Groce and assistant Paris Parham watching him and what did they like about his game?
“I wasn’t really sure. The only thing I noticed was when they left, but he said his son was playing on the other court. He said he likes my game because I am a combo guard. He said I can rebound, dribble very well, and create for other people. Court vision is ridiculous and defense is great. So he likes how I played all over.”
What stands out about the Illini coaching staff to the young guard?
“They wanted to help me and they were intense coaches. Had fun and bonded with the team off the court when it was fun time. But on the court it was business.”
Early on the class of 2017 has several very intriguing point guard prospects. Eastern is toward the top of the list. He split his time on the circuit between Spiece Indy Heat and Full Package-Connor.