Viser, Verhagen leaving Eastern

Jehad Abbed, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s basketball team has two additional spots to fill as junior guard LeTrell Viser and sophomore forward Jake Verhagen have chosen to leave the university with intention to transfer.

Verhagen joined the Panthers straight out of high school while Viser transferred to Eastern from Des Moines Area Community College this past fall.

Verhagen, of Appleton, Wis., saw his playing time drop by an average of 5 minutes per game from last year while playing in nine less games as a sophomore. He played a season-high 20 minutes against NAIA Eureka College in the Panthers’ second game of the season.

Viser, better known as “Snoop”, came to Eastern and quickly earned a starting position after gaining minutes through his first nine games and playing 25 minutes, a then season-high, against Ball State. He finished the season starting 21 of the Panthers’ 33 games this season.

Viser said he thought it would be more beneficial to transfer out despite being a starter for the majority of the season.

“I think what’s best right now is to move on to another school and their basketball program,” Viser said.

Viser had the 15th most steals per game in the Ohio Valley Conference with 1.3 takeaways in 32 games played.

Viser sat without playing a minute of Eastern’s last game this season in the 2nd round of the Tournament against the University of Evansville.

He said he and his family decided Eastern was not the right place after finishing the season.

“I enjoyed my time here,” Viser said. “I just feel like it’s the right thing to do at this point for my career in the future.”

Viser averaged 6.2 points and 2.5 rebounds while playing 22.8 minutes per game in his only season at Eastern.

He scored a season-high 16 points in the Panthers’ 59-55 win over Northern Illinois December 13. Viser was 6-of-12 for the game, and made four 3-pointers.

There is no exact indication of where Viser or Verhagen will end up next year, but Viser said he has some school visits planned in the next few weeks.

“I’m just focused on finishing out my classes strong right now at Easter,” he said.

There is nothing suggesting ill feelings between Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour and the two leaving players.

“I wish the best for both Jake and Snoop,” Spoonhour said. “They have both chosen to complete their careers elsewhere, and we are hopeful that things work out for them.”

Viser was a part of a team this year that finished as one of Eastern’s most successful basketball teams in the history of the school since becoming a Division-1 program.

He said he is going to miss his teammates with who he was able to share the special season.

“We did a lot of good things this year for the program,” Viser said. “We made some history.”

Jehad Abbed can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].