Three years after he was a fan favorite in East Lansing, former Michigan State basketball star Xavier Tillman has become a fan favorite, and playoff hero, in Memphis.
The Grizzlies dropped Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers last weekend and star point guard Ja Morant suffered an injury that would keep him out of Game 2. Things seemed grim for the Grizzlies without their best player but Tillman stepped up and provided that offense that was missing with Morant’s absence, leading Memphis with 22 points.
Not only did Tillman finish with a team-high in points, but he also added a game-high 13 rebounds and played some incredible defense on Anthony Davis, holding him to 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
The best player on the floor may have been LeBron James, but he was followed closely by Tillman and then Jaren Jackson Jr. The former Spartans were the stars that Memphis needed.
Michigan State basketball development on full display
Millions watched as Tillman dominated on both ends of the floor and the TNT crew gave credit to the development he underwent thanks to Tom Izzo. Both Tillman and Jackson Jr. received a ton of praise from the broadcast and Michigan State was mentioned as the reason for their success.
That’s something you just love to see.
Just this past week, Jackson Jr. became the second Spartan to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and Tillman was a playoff hero for the Grizzlies.
Without those two guys, Memphis doesn’t out-tough the Lakes on Wednesday night to even the series at 1-1.
That Michigan State toughness and development shone through for all to see.