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Nojel Eastern will not transfer to Michigan, citing course credits issue

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern won’t be coming to Ann Arbor after all.

Eastern announced on social media Wednesday that he won’t be joining the Wolverines next season because he wasn’t admitted into Michigan due to an academic issue.

“I want to start off by thanking Coach (Juwan) Howard for the opportunity he would have given me by attending the University of Michigan. I was extremely excited and grateful for him taking a chance on me,” Eastern wrote on Twitter. “But, I was not admitted to the university because of many credits that weren’t transferable because of my major. That is the only reason why I was not accepted."

Nojel Eastern

Eastern was majoring in selling and sales management at Purdue, according to his player bio on the Boilermakers’ athletics website. He entered the transfer portal on May 12 and has one season of eligibility remaining after spending the past three years in West Lafayette.

The 6-foot-7, 225-pound wing and top-notch defender was one of three transfers who announced they were heading to Michigan this offseason. Mike Smith, a graduate transfer from Columbia, was the first to do so in April, before Eastern and Wake Forest transfer Chaundee Brown posted their commitments on social media on May 14 and May 19, respectively.

Only Smith’s arrival has been officially recognized by the basketball program to date. And while Michigan never made a formal announcement regarding Eastern, Howard spoke about him when asked about his addition during an interview with Big Ten Network in late May.

Even if Eastern had cleared Michigan’s admissions process, it was still unclear when — or if — he would play. If he wasn’t granted immediate eligibility for next season, he could’ve kept his name in the NBA Draft or sat out a year before suiting up in 2021-22. But after Wednesday’s news, the Wolverines won’t have to wait to find out.

"I will be reopening my recruitment process as a transfer," Eastern wrote on Twitter. “I want (to) thank Michigan and the entire staff and organization for trying to do everything in (their) power to get me into the University of Michigan.”

With Eastern out of the fold, Michigan has one available scholarship for the 2020-21 season — assuming Isaiah Livers returns for his senior season — and one less perimeter player in the mix.

New numbers

Earlier this week, Michigan announced the jersey numbers its five new additions — incoming freshmen Hunter Dickinson, Zeb Jackson, Terrance Williams and Jace Howard along with Smith — will wear this upcoming season.

Dickinson will don No. 1, Williams will sport No. 5 and Jackson will take over the No. 3 uniform that was worn by Zavier Simpson the past four seasons. Howard opted for No. 10 over the No. 25 his father, Juwan, rocked during his Fab Five days, and Smith will wear No. 12, the same number he wore during his first two years at Columbia.

Additionally, Adrien Nunez will be switching from No. 5 to No. 0 for his junior year. Former guard David DeJulius, who transferred to Cincinnati in April, occupied No. 0 last season.

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins