"My mother (had a lot to do with the decision to switch),” he said. "She wanted to be a little closer to home. And I guess they had a little disagreement, too. So now, I’m basically home. It’s like 30 minutes away now instead of a 5-hour drive.”
Adjusting to new teammates is a work in progress for Tilmon, but his stellar play this weekend on a team that is absolutely loaded with talent is a good sign for the Eagles and a scary thought for the opposition in the EYBL.
Tilmon showed improvement in his skills this past high school season, but he feels like he can play more freely and play to his strengths on the grassroots circuit.
"I feel more comfortable right now with AAU than high school ball,” he said. "I like to run and get out in transition. I get a lot of my points that way."
A big part of Tilmon’s improvement was an increased assertiveness, especially in the low block. He doesn’t have aspirations to become a stretch forward, but now he is more aggressive in the paint.
"I got better in the post,” Tilmon said. "My freshman year, I really didn’t do much, but I’ve tried to kick it up this year. I’ve gotten more confident and now I can step up and be a leader for my team."
Tilmon is already racking up some major offers and is sure to pull more in over the coming months. But one school has really been keeping in touch with the 6’-10” post more than others.
Illinois assistant Jamall Walker and head coach John Groce have made Tilmon a high priority in 2017, and the effort that the staff is putting in is making a real difference to him.
"I’ve been to the games and spent time with the coaching staff,” he said. "I have a real close relationship with them.”
The “blue bloods” will eventually come calling, but the Illini’s early effort will likely cement their place in the mix throughout the entire recruitment. The staff’s attention to him early on has been a real eye-opener.
"It made a big impact,” Tilmon said. "It changed my mind on a lot of things. They have my attention right now."
Tilmon hasn’t been able to see many schools. However, he has seen the Illinois campus and got to check out a game this past season.
"Any visit I can get out on, I’m going to try to go on,” Tilmon said of possible visits in the coming months. "The only school I saw this year was Illinois. I don’t have anything planned yet, though."