Xavier Tillman, Nate Darling Staying In Draft

Michigan State big man Xavier Tillman has decided to remain in the 2020 NBA draft and hire an agent, forgoing his remaining college eligibility, the school announced in a press release.

Tillman’s decision doesn’t come as a major surprise, since he’s regarded as a solid candidate to be drafted this fall, ranking 40th on ESPN’s big board of 2020 prospects. As a junior in 2019/20, Tillman averaged a double-double in 31 games (32.1 MPG) for the Spartans, recording 13.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.1 BPG. He was also named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

In a more surprising move, Delaware guard Nate Darling is also keeping his name in the 2020 draft and will go pro, he announced on Twitter.

Darling, who doesn’t show up on ESPN’s top-100 list, appears less likely to be drafted than Tillman, but he had a strong junior year after transferring from Alabama-Birmingham to Delaware. The 6’5″ Canadian led the Blue Hens in scoring with 21.0 PPG on .446/.399/.854 shooting in 32 games (38.3 MPG).

Monday represents the deadline for early entrants in the 2020 draft to withdraw and retain their NCAA eligibility going forward. We passed along updates this morning on several players who have pulled out of the draft within the last day or two.

Since then, at least a couple more prospects have withdrawn. One player who is removing his name from consideration is NJIT guard Zach Cooks, his head coach Brian Kennedy tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). Cooks will be back for his senior season after averaging 19.7 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 2019/20.

Meanwhile, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert is also withdrawing from the draft and returning to school, joining teammate Joel Ayayi among Zags who will be back with the team next season after testing the draft waters.

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