Injury Isn't Holding Nojel Eastern Back

CHICAGO -- Nojel Eastern is one of the best players in the Class of 2017 and the Evanston native has been to DePaul's campus twice this summer on unofficial visits. Although he's out for the spring and summer recovering from a dislocated ankle suffered in the EYBL at the Lexington stop, Eastern has still been a steady presence at events all over, trying to travel despite being unable to play.

"It's been going real well. I've been in and out the gym just trying to come back. Trying to come back stronger than I was. Just get my leg back and even trying to make it better," Eastern said. "Just trying to work on my jump shot, ball handling, getting stronger. I think the summer has been going really well."

Physically, the 6-foot-4 guard can't do much until he is cleared to resume physical activities, but he's hoping to hear some good news sometime in August.

"I go back in August 21st for my last checkup to see if I can start running or jumping. If they can clear me to start running and jumping, then I'll start my physical therapy," Eastern said.

While he's been away from the floor,'s No. 41 overall player in the class has worked to try to be a leader while also watching film of his game.

"Mentally, try to watch film. Watch some things that I can improve on and some things that I have to do during the actual basketball season. Just trying to stay mentally prepared," Eastern said. "So I just study myself and see ways I can help my teammates. Trying to be a leader while I'm out and on the bench and off the court too. [I've worked to] get better with my leadership skills.

Visiting Lincoln Park twice this summer, the lefty guard has been a focus for DePaul in the Class of 2017. He's already earned a scholarship offer and visited the DePaul Elite Camp to hang out with the coaches and watch some friends play.

"It's always good to come out. They offered so it's always good to come and watch the camp. I know a lot of people at the camp," Eastern said. "Just come out, be around campus, talk to the coaching staff, a great experience. Watch some games and learn things from the coaches telling me what I could do better. It's always a great experiencing to come out and watch."

Besides visiting DePaul, Eastern might see Illinois and could also take a trip to Purdue for a camp there, he said. For now, he wants to build relationships with coaching staffs this offseason and DePaul's new staff has worked hard to get in the picture.

"Just trying to build a relationship with the coaching staff," Eastern said. "During the season, that's when I watch to see how they let their players play and run their system. I'm just trying to see campuses and come off as a positive person so schools are still recruiting me."

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