Jeremiah Tilmon a Possible One and Done, Brad Underwood Believes



If there’s one specific player who is made for the annual Braggin’ Rights game in St. Louis, it’s certainly Missouri Center Jeremiah Tilmon. The Mizzou big man hails from the area, as he played his high school ball at East Saint Louis.

After a substantial amount of vacillating, he signed a letter of intent to play at Illinois, but then backed out of it once Illinois and Mizzou made their head coaching changes. Pretty soon, he’ll be a guy who’s made for NBA mock drafts as well.

Ahead of the annual Braggin’ Rights contest (won by Illinois 70-64) Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood had a lot of high praise for Tilmon.

jeremiah tilmon

“He’s a pro, reminds he a lot of DeAndre Jordan,” Underwood said a couple days ago. Underwood coached against the current Los Angeles Clippers superstar when he was an assistant at Kansas State and Jordan was at Texas A&M. 

“Elite runner, length, hands, literally catches everything, the NBA stuff.”

“You have to do stuff that’s elite to make it at that level, and he does that.”

It’s much easier for talented and skilled big men to get drafted than it is talented and skilled guards. There always seems to be shortage of good fours and and fives, so if you’re really tall (Jeremiah Tilmon is listed at 6-10) and have game, your NBA draft stock will soar. If you have the chance to go early, then you got to do so.

“He won’t be there very long,” Underwood continued. “I think he’ll be a guy in the spring who’s going to have some decisions to make, and some pretty serious ones.l”

That’s code for “probably one-and-done to the NBA.”

jeremiah tilmon

Tilmon’s biggest issue so far has been foul trouble, which has kept him from playing more minutes. Underwood visited with Jeremiah Tilmon after he took the program over from John Groce, and he did all he could to try and keep him on board, but obviously it didn’t work out. Underwood said he didn’t “lose sleep over it,” and the enjoyed the time he spent with the freshman.

“It doesn’t bother me a bit,” Underwood said.

“I wish nothing but the best for Jeremiah. That’s a young man trying to reach and achieve his dreams and goals.”

On his flipping, the Illini basketball coach said, it’s not unique to us, it’s a common thing that happens all the time in basketball. He’s a talented kid. I wish him nothing but the best.”

It’s fitting that Tilmon scored the very first points of this game, but overall he underwhelmed, putting up just a 7 and 7 in 32 minutes.

The Illini defense were able to contain him pretty well as the frosh only got five field goal attempts for the game.


If Jeremiah Tilmon does leave, he probably won’t be the only Mizzou big declaring early.

You also have the nation’s #1 overall recruit in Michael Porter Jr.  He had been considered the favorite to be the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft this June, but now that he’s out for the season (back), his stock will obviously drop.

He’s still a blue chip pro prospect, and don’t be surprised if his college career ends with his having played only two whole minutes.

From there, Mizzou Coach Cuonzo Martin can look to the 6’11” Jontay Porter (Michael’s brother, who who leads the team in rebounding) down the line. His name will be mentioned in future NBA mock drafts most likely. 

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC and Chicago, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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