On Sunday, the Michigan State Spartans got some tough news, as fans learned that star big man Xavier Tillman would be remaining in the 2020 NBA Draft and foregoing his senior season with the Spartans. His decision was one of the most anticipated ones in the Big Ten and will leave Tom Izzo and staff with a few questions upfront heading into next year.
Tillman played three seasons in East Lansing and averaged an impressive 13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game last year. He was vitally important in Michigan State’s run to the Final Four in 2019 and improved dramatically during his career. Many thought he could be the team’s best player next season if he returned to campus.
From a Draft perspective, Tillman is in that tricky spot where he could land anywhere from the mid-1st to the late 2nd Round. Most projections have him landing somewhere in the early 2nd Round, but it’s hard to gauge. Sam Vecenie has him going 37th to the Washington Wizards. It’s hard to say that would be a bad landing spot for the long game. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what ends up happening.
For Michigan State, this is certainly a big loss. He’s been a consistent starter over the last two seasons and was a great “glue” guy for the team. Tillman was phenomenal in the pick and roll game and stood out as a defender. The team will now have to rely on transfer Joey Hauser and returners like Marcus Bingham and Thomas Kithier upfront.
We’ll now have to wait and see how it all sorts out.