Xavier Tillman is ready to show off more than skill later this week.
When the live period kicks off Friday, Tillman will be in Brooklyn with Spiece Indy Heat for the first EYBL session. College coaches will be situated court side to see the four-star power forward from Grand Rapids, Mich., and several teammates.
Tillman might want to make sure they see his ability to score and rebound. He also wants to put an above average work ethic on display.
“My motor,” Tillman said. “A lot of players, I feel like if bad plays happen they kinda chill out and relax a little bit. But me, I keep going. If I get a turnover I’m not jogging back and playing defense. If I get a turnover, I’m angry. I’m hustling back. I’m trying to get a stop. I keep going.
“I play hard. I feel like not all players do that but that’s something I’m gonna do 24-7.”
Tillman already knows some of the programs that will be keeping tabs.
Kentucky, Marquette, Michigan State, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Purdue are those he listed as being most involved. Tillman, whose mother played basketball at Michigan, holds offers from DePaul and Xavier as well.
Notre Dame has hosted the 6-foot-8 prospect on multiple occasions, starting with a football weekend visit last fall.
“The part that really stuck out was the religious part,” Tillman said. “I’m a Christian, so religion is kind of a part that I would like to have with school and stuff like that. I don’t forget about my faith. And the facilities were amazing as well, the practice gym and the arena.”
Mike Brey and other members of the Irish staff are expected to keep tabs on Tillman during the spring evaluation periods. Four-star forward Jaren Jackson, another top target, is also playing with Spiece this spring and summer.
Brey has left an impression on Tillman already through their initial meetings.
“Notre Dame is a great atmosphere,” Tillman said. “It’s a real athletic school. Basketball and football are both pretty good. It’s kinda cool because the coach said he’s a players coach and let’s the players make plays. He really trusts and believes in his players a lot.”
Right now the Irish are duking it out with other programs as part of what Tillman says is a wide open field. More visits are likely to happen this offseason, maybe even into the fall with official trips after trimming down the list.
Tillman could have a tighter group after the AAU circuit ends.
“Usually people will commit in the fall of this year,” Tillman said. “Maybe by then I’ll have it done. Maybe a top five after the summer. That sounds pretty reasonable I think.”
Until then, Tillman is going to keep listening to coaches in hopes of finding the right fit. He’s looking for a few specifics.
“Family and togetherness,” Tillman said. “We all have to be on the same page. I’m a hard worker and can’t take losing lightly. I want them to be the same as I am in the aspect that we have the same mindset and the same goals, stuff like that.”