Michigan State junior Xavier Tillman declared for the NBA Draft on Tuesday, becoming one of the highest-profile college basketball players to enter the draft this cycle.
More NBA Draft
“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,” he said. “It is important for me to gather as much information as possible before making this decision.”
Underclassmen have the opportunity to test the draft process while retaining their eligibility and have until June 15 to either stay in the draft or withdraw and return to school.
Tillman is among those who are in a great position to take advantage of that recently-implemented rule. A 6-foot-8 forward with elite defensive instincts and glue-guy traits, he projects right now as a late first round pick, sitting at No. 21 on our most recent Big Board.
Tillman averaged 13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals per game for Michigan State last season, which entered the year as preseason No. 1. With Cassius Winston’s eligibility expired, he could be in line to take a leap next season as a No. 1 option on a top-10 team.
Jumping to the NBA now, however, makes loads of sense. He and his wife just had their second child in February and his stock benefit from what is generally viewed as a weak draft.
Michigan State is set to return five of its top scorers next season should Tillman choose to return. If he does, the Spartans, who are No. 12 in the way-too-early Top 25 And 1 college basketball rankings for next season, could move into the top 10.