COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri men’s basketball’s two uncertainties in regards to the NBA Draft have both been answered. The decisions came to fruition as expected.
Jontay Porter will remain in the NBA Draft process, thus ending his Tigers career. Rising junior Jeremiah Tilmon will return to Columbia next season and figures to be an integral part of Missouri’s plans for this upcoming year.
“He’s staying here in school,” Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said while meeting with reporters Tuesday about Tilmon’s original declaration for the NBA Draft on April 15. “We got great feedback on him.”
Martin added there were issues with Tilmon’s paperwork and after working with the NBA for two straight weeks to get everything finalized, it didn’t pan out.
Tilmon, a 6-foot-10 center who averaged a career-high 10.1 points and 5.9 rebounds last season, will return to Missouri and retain eligibility. Tilmon had until May 29 to announce his decision to return to the school.
As a top-50 prospect coming out of East St. Louis (Ill.) High School and a member of Missouri’s prized top-five 2017 class, Tilmon has shown flashes of his potential. But at the same time, he’s confused many with his foul trouble.
Along with improving his scoring and rebound total as Missouri’s true post presence in 2018-2019, Tilmon also improved his free-throw shooting to 68 percent from 52 percent his freshman year. He has also proven to be a force in the post because of his physicality and 252-pound body, as well as his footwork.
Tilmon’s biggest problem has always been foul trouble. Through his first two years, Tilmon tallied 232 fouls and had an average of four fouls per game.
Although Tilmon fouled out in 10 games last season, the same amount from his freshman year, he cut down foul totals from his freshman season, though it may not have felt like it at times. Last season, Tilmon picked up 111 fouls, down 10 from his 121 freshman total.
Martin said Tilmon understands critiques from draft scouts and has applied that into his training regimen.
The Tigers third-year head coach also added the biggest key to Tilmon improving is his comfort with the ball, decision-making and handling the ball.
Tilmon’s role heavily expanded last season because Porter tore his right anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament during a preseason closed-door scrimmage on Oct. 21.
Porter declared for the draft for a second time on April 19, after he returned to college after testing the waters as a freshman in 2018.
The 6-foot-11 forward averaged 9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and shot 36 percent 3-point range as a freshman. Porter was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team and named Co-Sixth Man of the Year in the league.
Porter was originally expected to be a first-round pick, but his draft stock took a likely hit after it became known that he tore his ACL a second time and had to have surgery again at the end of March.
The latest mock draft from NBADraft.net has Porter being selected by the Orlando Magic with the No. 46 pick.
“Obviously, he made his own decision,” Martin said about Porter. “I think it's a great decision for him. No doubt in my mind he’ll be a part of a team whether he gets drafted or not. I’ve said before, when he's healthy ... he has the ability in my opinion to start for some teams (in) the NBA, certainly at the five position, and I think he can play a four as well.”
Martin added he doesn’t anticipate there being an issue in Porter getting back to 100 percent health.
BROWN COMMITS TO MIZZOU: Kobe Brown, a three-star 6-foot-7 forward from Huntsville, Ala. announced Tuesday afternoon that he’s committing to Missouri on an Instagram Live video.
Brown was originally a Texas A&M commit, but opened back up his recruitment after Billy Kennedy was fired as the Aggies’ head coach in March. Brown chose the Tigers over Minnesota, Penn State and Vanderbilt.
Brown was offered a scholarship by Missouri on Oct. 12 and took his official visit nine days later, according to the 247Sports composite.
As a senior at Lee High School, Brown averaged 24.1 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. He is the third member of Missouri’s 2019 recruiting class, joining Tray Jackson and Mario McKinney.
NOTABLE REMARKS: Martin added Parker Braun is now on scholarship with the team moving forward.
“I think Parker has a chance to be a good basketball player and I think with him spending extra time in the gym, he learned that part,” Martin said. “He’s probably picked up 16 or 17 pounds from the time he stepped on campus.”
Martin also said Ronnie Suggs has entered the NCAA transfer portal and won’t be back with the team. Martin expects the rest of his roster to remain intact.
Michael Porter Sr. will also remain on Martin’s staff, Martin said. No specific role was mentioned for Porter Sr. for the upcoming school year.
The Tigers have one scholarship remaining for the 2019-20 season, but it’s unclear whether it will be used.