Despite junior captain Nojel Eastern’s basketball career getting derailed last year due to a severe ankle injury, he’s back on the court and ready to prove that he is still number one in the North Shore.
“Long, hard, and extremely frustrating,” is how Nojel describes his road to recovery. In addition to dislocating his ankle, Nojel also broke his tibia and fibula during an AAU game in Kentucky last April. This left him off the court for five and a half months.
“The benefit of Nojel’s injury was that he had a chance to break down some individual skills of his game this summer, specifically shooting,” says head basketball coach Michael Ellis.
Nojel has played on the varsity team all three years and has received interest from major division one schools. Nojel has also had the opportunity to try out for the USA team.
“Nojel has such a repertoire of skills that every player on the team can learn from,” says cocaptain Charlie Maxwell. “He creates a competitive environment where every player wants to put his best up against him.”
“Nojel is probably one of the most talented and unselfish players I have ever coached,” adds Ellis. “When we get to our games he will be faced with different opportunities. When we’re in a tight game and we need a play to be made the ball will definitely find it’s way to his hands, and were counting on him to make the right reads.”
This type of high pressure has never affected Nojel’s mindset or his play.
“I don’t think about it much,” explains Nojel. “I go out there and play how I know how to play. I try and do what captains do and that’s leading the team to victory, it has never really affected me at all.”
With a strong team backing him and good outside support, the 6’5” shooting guard sets his sights high as he aims to achieve the title of Evanston’s all-time win leader.
“We believe it is something that is within his grasp, to try and graduate here having won more varsity basketball games than any other student in the history of the high school,” adds Ellis.
So far this season, Nojel has averaged about 15 points per game. According to ESPN, he is the number 87 player in the country for the class of 2017.