Justin Tillman is on the back end of the Rivals’ 150 for the 2014 class, but with the way he’s played at the Under Armour Summer Jam presented by NY2LA Sports, he might be on his way up the rankings.
The 6’7″ forward from Pershing High School in Detroit is currently rated as the No. 148 prospect in the class and with the way he rebounds, college coaches are taking notice.
Tillman told NBC Sports that Iowa, Iowa State, Xavier, Kent State, Bowling Green, Rhode Island and Oakland have offered him scholarships while in-state schools Michigan and Michigan State as well as Marquette and Georgetown are showing interest.
Although a long-armed 6’7″ rebounding machine, Tillman is a tad undersized, so he feels like he’s more of a combo forward at the next level. That still doesn’t stop his primary focus of rebounding and defense.
“I’d say I’m a 3/4,” Tillman said. “My father always told me to focus on defense instead of offense so that’s what I try to do.”
One of the interesting things Tillman is looking for in a school is something rarely mentioned by high school recruits: classroom size.
“(I’d like to attend) a school with small classroom sizes and (play for) a fast-paced team that runs the court,” Tillman said.
Currently Tillman said Iowa, Xavier and Michigan are standing out in his recruitment. Although the local Wolverines have yet to offer a scholarship, NBC Sports was at one of Tillman’s games with R.E.A.C.H. Legends and Michigan head coach John Beilein was in attendance.
“They play fact-paced, they play aggressive and it’s close to home,” Tillman said of the Wolverines.
Iowa has also been aggressively pursuing Tillman since offering him a scholarship last week — although he’s still doing research about his newest high-major offer.
“I’ve seen Iowa play on TV but I don’t really know much about them,” Tillman admitted.
But could Xavier be the team to beat for Tillman? The Muskateers have been recruiting Tillman for far longer than the other high-major schools involved and Tillman cited his strong relationship with head coach Chris Mack and assistant coach Travis Steele as a big factor in his recruitment.
“I’m really close with Coach Steele and Coach Mack and I have a good relationship with Xavier,” Tillman said.
Whichever school lands Tillman — and many are spending their week at the Summer Jam checking his progress — it’s likely he’ll rebound and defend at a high level.