Michigan State's Xavier Tillman keeping name in NBA draft

Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman is keeping his name in the NBA draft, ending his college career after three seasons with the Spartans.

Tillman was one of the most improved players in the country over the course of his three seasons in East Lansing, going from 2.8 points and 2.6 rebounds as a freshman to second-team All-Big Ten honors during his final campaign. As a junior, he averaged 13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.1 blocks, while shooting 55.0% from the field.

He was dominant at times -- at both ends of the floor. Tillman tallied 14 double-doubles last season, including a 23-point, 15-rebound performance against Penn State and 19 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and five blocks against Minnesota. He won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and also helped slow down Duke's Zion Williamson late in Michigan State's Elite Eight win in the 2019 NCAA tournament.

A 6-foot-8 frontcourt player from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Tillman is ranked No. 40 overall in ESPN's NBA draft rankings. He slots in as the No. 7 center.

Tillman's decision comes shortly after rising junior Aaron Henry announced he was withdrawing his name from the NBA draft and returning to Michigan State. Tom Izzo was already losing senior All-American Cassius Winston, so Tillman's departure leaves Izzo without his two best players from last season's team.

The Spartans earned a share of the 2020 Big Ten regular-season title after winning five in a row to end the season.