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Mizzou’s Tilmon: 'I plan on returning, finishing strong'

Eric Blum
The Examiner
Missouri forward Jeremiah Tilmon looks on during a game against Illinois on Dec. 21 at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

Missouri men’s basketball standout Jeremiah Tilmon said Monday he intends to return to Columbia for his senior season.

Tilmon is one of three Tigers currently entered into the NBA Draft process, alongside Xavier Pinson and Mitchell Smith, and none have officially made a decision about their futures.

The trio has until Aug. 3 to hire an agent and forgo their remaining college eligibility or to withdraw from the NBA Draft process.

“By the looks of it, it looks like I’m coming back to school because I don’t know what’s going on with basketball and the NBA,” Tilmon said during an on-camera interview with ABC 17.

“So I plan on returning, finishing strong and getting my degree.”

A foot injury kept Tilmon, a 6-foot-10 center, sidelined for nearly half of his junior season. The East St. Louis, Illinois, native returned to the floor during the Tigers’ last four games of the season.

Talented underclassmen exploring the option to receive an evaluation for how they compare to other pro prospects has become popular in recent years. Last year, 40 of the 60 selections in the draft were underclassmen who gave up their college eligibility.

There were 175 players who initially announced their intention to test their NBA Draft value in 2019. Among them were 44 underclassmen — including MU’s Jontay Porter — who forfeited college eligibility and weren’t drafted.

Tilmon attempted to enter his name into the draft fray last spring, but because of a paperwork issue, he never entered the process. He returned to Columbia for his junior season.

Tilmon doesn’t currently appear in any major online NBA mock drafts.

This past season, Tilmon’s foul and turnover rates went down and he shot a career-high 58.9% from the field.

However, Tilmon’s points per game average decreased from 10.1 to 8.2, and his rebounding average dropped from 5.9 to 4.4. His assists and blocks per game both slightly increased.