Men of Mackey aren’t playing around this summer. Today they announced the addition of former Boilermaker Nojel Eastern!
ROSTER ANNOUNCEMENT— Men of Mackey (@PurdueTbt) May 10, 2023
We are excited to announce that @NEblessed_20 is back in the gold and black and making his TBT debut this summer with us!
✅2x Big Ten All-Defensive Team
✅Led the Boilers in assists and steals (2019-20)
✅A part of the Boilers Elite Eight team (2018-19) pic.twitter.com/RQE4Dv5gnB
I’m not going to lie y’all, I’m a big Nojel fan. I know things didn’t end the way anyone wanted them to end, but when Nojel was on the court, he was a problem. The 6’7”, 200+ pound point guard is capable of guarding 1-4, and not just guarding them, but locking them down. He’s the ultimate pick and roll defender capable of switching everything and not causing a mismatch.
On offense, we all know the shooting issues, but Men of Mackey won’t ask him to feed a dominate low post player and then spot up around the perimeter. Nojel works best in an open court where he can attack the rim, post up smaller defenders, push the pace, and finish in transition.
He played a major factor in Purdue’s Elite 8 run, often drawing the opponents best scorer on defense. Without his 11 points, 2 steals, 3 assists and 5 rebounds against the Vols, Purdue’s run ends in the Sweet 16 in ‘18-’19. Overall he was 10/17 (59%) from 2, with 15 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 turnovers in Purdue’s best tournament run in recent history, despite only playing 10 minutes in Purdue’s opening round blow out of Old Dominion.
Recently, Nojel has resurrected his basketball. He plays for Hermosillo in the Mexican and had a solid first season, averaging 16 points, 4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.3 steals a game. If Men of Mackey want to make a run at the championship, Eastern is the type of player they need to sign. He’s young, in game shape, and hungry to prove a point. No offense to Robbie and Lew Jack, but it’s a big ask for guys that don’t play regularly to play consistently well in a single elimination tournament. Best to save their legs for important moments and let the young guys do the heavy lifting. Kelsey Barlow has been the best player for Men of Mackey over the last few tournaments, and it’s hard not a see Nojel as a similar player.
Hammer and Rails will once again partner with the TBT this summer, and we could really use deep run from Men of Mackey. This is a move in that direction. I’ll take all the summer basketball content I can get.