East St. Louis (Ill.) High center Jeremiah Tilmon has signed with the Missouri men’s basketball team, the school announced Monday.
“It’s truly exciting to keep a young man like Jeremiah at home with Mizzou basketball,” first-year Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin, who was hired in March, said in a statement from the athletic department. “Jeremiah, as a player and person, possesses the type of skill and presence we’d like to become a staple of this program.
“We feel that he has the ability to become a game-changing presence on both ends of the floor. His parents, April and Jeremiah Sr., raised a son who we feel can really flourish at the University of Missouri.”
Tilmon signed with Illinois in November but was released from his national letter of intent on April 11, a few weeks after former coach John Groce’s firing.
Now, Tilmon has signed a financial-aid agreement with Missouri.
He’s a consensus four-star prospect and could provide much-needed frontcourt size for the Tigers.
Mizzou relied on senior Russell Woods in the post during Kim Anderson’s final season, but Woods graduated after averaging 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds last season.
That meant Martin only inherited two post players — sophomores Reed Nikko, who averaged 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.5 minutes during 28 games as a freshman last season, and Mitchell Smith, who was limited to 11 games after a torn ACL early in his freshman campaign.
Tilmon, who is from Martin’s hometown, is 6 feet 10 inches tall and averaged 15.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks last season, according to the East St. Louis basketball team’s MaxPreps page.
Rivals and Scout previously listed Tilmon as a five-star prospect, but all four major recruiting outlets now list him as a four-star prospect. He remains the consensus No. 1 player in Illinois.
Scout pegs Tilmon as the No. 35 overall player, while Rivals rates him No. 42, ESPN lists him No. 43 overall and 247 Sports ranked him No. 97.
Tilmon is ESPN’s No. 6 center in the 2017 recruiting class, while 247 Sports placed him as the No. 9 power forward.
In addition to Mizzou and Illinois, Tilmon also had offers from reigning national champion North Carolina, Kansas, Kansas State, Saint Louis, Indiana, Michigan State, Texas, UCLA, North Carolina State and Iowa among others.
Last summer, he announced that the Tigers, Fighting Illini, Jayhawks, Spartans, Tar Heels and Longhorns were his final six schools.
Mizzou has seven returning scholarship players — Nikko and Smith along with guards Terrence Phillips, Jordan Geist and Cullen VanLeer, and forwards Jordan Barnett and Kevin Puryear.
Richland (Texas) Hills guard C.J. Roberts signed with the Tigers in November and decided to stick with MU after the coaching change.
Since Martin was hired, Missouri has signed two former Washington signees who were released after Lorenzo Romar was dismissed — top 2017 prospect Michael Porter Jr., a potential NBA star-in-the-making on the wing, and Word of God Christian Academy guard Blake Harris from Raleigh, N.C.
The Tigers also added Canisius transfer Kassius Robertson, a shooting guard, two weeks ago. They have one scholarship available after Mizzou announced later Monday that redshirt freshman forward Jakoby Kemp will transfer.
It’s unclear what impact, if any, Tilmon’s commitment might have on Jontay Porter’s pending decision about possibly graduating high school early and reclassifying to enroll in college next season.
Jontay Porter, who de-committed from Washington in March and is expected to wind up at Mizzou, told USA Today he won’t announce a decision until after the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in July.
He’s the younger brother of Michael Jr. and the son of new Mizzou assistant Michael Porter Sr.
Jontay Porter, who plays for Kansas City-based MoKan Elite on the EYBL circuit, is ranked among the top prospects in the 2018 class by 247 Sports (18), Rivals, (23) and ESPN (26).
With Tilmon’s signing, Missouri brieflt reached its NCAA scholarship limit for next season, but Kemp’s transfer makes room for Jontay Porter on next season’s roster, if needed.