Class of 2017 Basketball Freshman Xavier Tillman leads Forest Hills Central High School to OK White Conference Championship

By: Kyle Mills

If you have not heard of Xavier Tillman yet, you will be hearing about him soon. The 6 foot 6 inch 220 pound beast of a basketball player has been turning heads all season long for the Rangers of Forest Hills Central. The most impressive number is not the 20 points he scored Friday night against East Grand Rapids, nor the 15-4 record he has helped the Rangers to, but the fact that he is only 15 years old. Most 15 year olds are immature and small, but Tillman is neither of those. This freshman has been a solid rock in the middle and will continue to be for the next 4 seasons.

During a game that was never really in question against a 6 win East Grand Rapids team, Tillman showed why he is considered one of the best freshmen in the state of Michigan. Showing a variety of post moves, spins, power moves and two thunderous dunks, Tillman dominated the paint and helped to cement Forest Hills Central’s 6th OK White Conference Championship in the past 12 years. When asked about Tillman after the game Rangers Head Coach Ken George jokingly said “What else does he contribute besides blocks, rebounds, assists, steals, dunks and a pretty good personality, hmmm not much. He is the real deal”.

As humble as he is talented, Tillman said that his “passing and ability to find open teammates” was his greatest strength on the court. He wasn’t lying as he dished out 4 assists during the game. Of course he could have said his rebounding, which he had 7 of, his ability to dominate the paint on defense, with 2 steals and 3 blocks, or the ability just flat out put the ball in the basket. He knows he still has work to do to become a better overall player though, which is rare to hear these days coming from someone so good at such a young age. “I know I need to become a better outside shooter,” Tillman immediately said during the interview. But that is something that can be taught over time, and Tillman has things that cannot be taught: size, great hands, and a humble demeanor.

Young Xavier Tillman has already caught the eye of the two biggest and most storied basketball programs in the state. He took a visit to Michigan State last weekend and described it as, “a great experience”. This weekend he is traveling to Ann Arbor to visit the University of Michigan and ironically watch them play Michigan State. Who is he going to root for though is the big question. After thinking about it for a few seconds he said with a grin, “I’ll probably have to root for Michigan, but I don’t know for sure yet”. He has a bright future ahead of him and will only continue to garner more statewide and national attention as time goes on.

When asked about what he plans to accomplish in the future after winning the OK White Conference Championship as a freshman, Tillman responded with a big smile on his face, “This year is nice, but I’m planning on winning one the next year, the year after that and again my senior year,” reminding everyone how this 15 year old freshmen still has a long way to go. It should be exciting watching him improve his game each and every year for the next 4 seasons.

Go follow Xavier Tillman on Twitter at: @Rookiedunker

Check out Xavier’s football highlights: Hudl Highlights

(Yes he started on Varsity as a TE/DE as a Freshman)

Go follow me on Twitter at: @generalmills101