Newest Spartan Xavier Tillman: 'I wanted Michigan State'

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Grand Rapids — Michigan State added its second commitment to the 2017 class on Friday when four-star forward Xavier Tillman of Grand Rapids Christian announced he would become a Spartan.

Xavier Tillman chose Michigan State over Marquette and Purdue.

The 6-foot-8, 270-pound Tillman chose Michigan State over Purdue and Marquette at his announcement at Grand Rapids Christian. He joins AAU teammate Jaren Jackson, the five-star forward from of La Lumiere in La Porte, Ind., who committed two weeks ago.

“It was very close,” Tillman said. “For a while I really believed I was going to Marquette. I liked it there, but when I got done with my visits, I wanted Michigan State. I’ve always wanted Michigan State and nothing’s gonna change it.

“I love coach Izzo. I love the program. Ever since I came on my first football visit and saw the atmosphere and how the fans reacted to the players and how much the players and staff loved watching football and loved being together, I was like, ‘I want to be here.’”

Tillman is ranked in the top 100 in the nation by all of the major recruiting services, including No. 75 by ESPN. He is the top-ranked player in the state according to and the composite.

Tillman said Friday only his mother, girlfriend and trainer knew which school he was going to choose and he planned to call Michigan State coach Tom Izzo immediately after his press conference.

What the Spartans and Izzo will be getting is a scrappy player who prides himself on working harder than anyone else on the court.

“That’s what I do,” Tillman said. “On the court, off the court. I work hard. That’s my value. When I noticed that’s all they do (at Michigan State) and have fun working hard, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is the spot for me.’”

Tillman said he will now go to work on helping recruit others in the class, including Saginaw native Brian Bowen – at teammate of Jackson’s at La Lumiere – and Evanston, Ill., guard Nojel Eastern, one of his close friends.
He said he’ll push Eastern, but not too hard.

“Yes and now,” Tillman said. “Yes because I’d love to play with him, he’s a great guard. But no because he let me relax and let me take my time so I want to let him take is time.

“But I feel like I can be a good recruiter.”