Irish go deep for 4-star Tillman

WESTFIELD, Ind. - Over the last couple weeks, four-star power forward Xavier Tillman has seen every Notre Dame coach. Mike Brey and a couple assistants tracked Tillman, who’s visited South Bend multiple times, last weekend.

WESTFIELD, Ind. - Xavier Tillman hopes moving to the EYBL helps grow his game.

Tillman, a four-star power forward from Grand Rapids, Mich., spent last summer playing on the adidas circuit. Now Tillman runs with Spiece Indy Heat, a NIKE-sponsored program that plays its game in the EYBL.

Now with two sessions complete, Tillman is averaging 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He provides a rugged complement to four-star forward Jaren Jackson, who can stretch the floor with some outside shooting.

“In a couple years, I want to be a dominant post player,” Tillman said. “From there I want to get more athletic so I’m dunking a lot more than just doing the layups. Also, my jump shooting. I’m working on that. I’m trying to equip that to my game and be a better shooter.”

Plenty of college coaches have gotten a look at Tillman’s games the last two weeks during the live periods.

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, who’s also targeting Jackson, watched multiple Spiece games last weekend in suburban Indianapolis, including their first. Assistants Martin Ingelsby and Anthony Solomon did the same.

Rod Balanis, another assistant, had an in-home visit with Tillman last week. Already the 6-foot-8, 235-pound prospect knows plenty about the Irish.

“They’re gonna get it down low a lot,” Tillman said. “They know my game and they know that passing is one of my good abilities. Also my leadership and that I’m very vocal. That’s something they said brought them all the way down to the Elite Eight. With that, they’d just help me be more vocal and be more of a leader.”

Tillman, who plays at Grand Rapids Christian, has already made multiple visits to campus.

“It’s a real peaceful community,” he said. “Nothing crazy is really going on down there. It’s really relaxing. You can really focus on basketball.”

Other scholarship offers on the table include DePaul, Kentucky, Marquette, Michigan State, N.C. State, Purdue and Xavier. Tillman listed Marquette, Michigan State, N.C. State and Purdue among the programs recruiting him hardest heading into the summer.

Tillman could take unofficial visits to some of those programs in June. If not, official visits are likely in August either way.

“Everybody's even right now but I feel like I’ll take my officials in the summer time,” Tillman said. “Maybe make my decision in the fall or early winter. That’s usually the time a lot of prospects make their decision.”

When it comes to comparing programs, Tillman plans to take a long look at player development.

“I want a coach that’s gonna tell me what I can’t do and what I can do,” Tillman said. “What I mean by that is I want a coach that’s gonna make me better and help me on my game and improve me so I can get to the next level.”


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