Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Michigan State men's basketball's Xavier Tillman to enter NBA Draft, will keep NCAA eligibility through process

March 24, 2020
<p>Junior forward Xavier Tillman Sr. reacts to a foul called against him during a game against Iowa. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes, 78-70, at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 25, 2020. </p>

Junior forward Xavier Tillman Sr. reacts to a foul called against him during a game against Iowa. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes, 78-70, at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 25, 2020.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

"I would first like to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ for allowing me to play the game I love."

Michigan State men's basketball's junior forward Xavier Tillman declared via Twitter on Tuesday that he will be entering his name into the 2020 NBA Draft, but he will also be keeping a foot in the door to East Lansing for a possible senior season run.

Tillman averaged 14.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.4 steals per game by the end of his junior season. He also received notable honors as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and second-team All-Big Ten.

The NBA draft process changed last year to allow players to enter the process while still maintaining the opportunity to return to college. The COVID-19 crisis has thrown the draft and the associated workouts and evaluation process into question, as it is unlikely that scouts would have the opportunity to travel and watch Tillman.

Tillman's message read:

“To Spartan Nation: I thank you for your love and support and for welcoming me and my family. Your energy and the atmosphere that you created was a huge reason that I came to MSU."

“To my coaches: I thank you for guiding and shaping me over the past 3 years. You pushed me to work hard and to become a stronger leader. Your support inspired me to not only transform my body but also become a better student and a man of integrity."

“To my brothers: You truly mean everything to me. What I will remember most are the laughs in the locker room, joking in the hotels and the battles we have had on the court have created an unbreakable bond. I appreciate you for embracing me and my family."

"With the support of my family and coaches, I have decided to test the waters and will enter my name in the 2020 NBA Draft. It is important for me to gather as much information as possible before making this decision. Throughout the process I will be keeping my college eligibility."

"Thank you forever."

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