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March 7, 2014

Hoops: In-state frosh rising quickly on U-M's list

Michigan basketball continues to hum along, and while the Wolverines still haven't received a pledge from the 2015 group, the U-M coaches are working that group and beyond. One underclassmen standout, Grand Rapids, Mich., Forest Hills Central's freshman Xavier Tillman, was in Ann Arbor recently for an unofficial visit, and he's got Michigan ties.

Forest Hills Central will play Grand Rapids Northview tonight after Tillman (6-5) led FHC to a 78-75 triple-overtime win over Rockford March 5 with 37 points.

"Xavier is a special kid," Forest Hills Central coach Ken George told mlive.com. "He is really special, not only as a player, but also as a person. He is all about team, and very humble."

Tillman scored 17 of his team's points when FHC fell behind 30-19 at the break. He notched seven points in the third overtime to lead the win.

"He's a bear," Rockford coach Nick Allen said of Tillman. "They are a good team. They hit some threes in the third quarter and that helped them turn it on. We weren't expecting them to lay down after halftime."

The rest of the story on Tillman: his mother, Tanya Powell Tillman, played four years at Michigan in the early 90s and ranks 11th on the team's career scoring list with 1,135 points.

"You can see the basketball skill is there, but what makes him good is his length," Grand Rapids Storm AAU coach Phil Beachler said. "He can cover sideline to sideline, and he has long arms and what we call bear paws. He does a great job rebounding underneath, but he can play on top and has the skills of a guard. He's a very talented young man who is going to grow and get bigger and stronger."

Tillman is extremely tight with his mother, and while he's just getting started in the recruiting process, Michigan has an obvious 'in' here that bears watching.

For the rest of the story on Tillman and where things are headed, look for our ITF EXTRA on The Fort, our premium message board, here: Xavier Tillman Extra.

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