In this March 12 photo, Evanston's Nojel Eastern grabs a rebound during a playoff game against Maine South. | Tracy Allen/for Sun-Times Media
Evanston sophomore Nojel Eastern has been identified by USA Basketball as one of the country's rising stars.
On Monday, Eastern, a 6-foot-3 point guard, received a formal invitation to participate in the 2014 Developmental National Team Mini Camp that runs Oct. 3-6 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. USA Basketball will pay for Eastern's round-trip plane ticket, lodging, meals and apparel.
"The purpose of this Mini Camp is to begin the process of selecting those that will be a part of the 2015-16 Junior National Teams," the invitation read.
Evanston coach Mike Ellis said Eastern is the first player of his to be extended such an offer. As a freshman, Eastern started some games for the Wildkits, but he was sidelined for most of the second half of the season with a knee injury. Ellis said Eastern improved his aggressiveness on both ends of the floor during the offseason.
"He has the talent to dominate, but he sometimes was too unselfish," Ellis said. "Not many players in the country get this chance. This gives him the opportunity to compete against the best, to show he belongs as one of the best players in the country."