The Rutgers men’s basketball program is hosting an intriguing sit-out transfer candidate on Thursday. Per The Basketball Diary, Utah wing and the Pac-12’s reigning sixth man of the year, Donnie Tillman, is currently on a visit to Rutgers.
Utah’s transfer Donnie Tillman on a visit at Rutgers. Was Pac12’s 6th man of the year.— The Basketball Diary (@TheBBallDiary) June 20, 2019
Kristian Dyer of ESPN confirmed the visit soon after as well.
The 6’7” sophomore averaged 10.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists in 27.2 minutes per game last season. He shot 43.9% from the floor, 36.1% from three-point range on 122 attempts, and 78.6% from the free throw line on 103 attempts. He was the second leading rebounder and third leading scorer for Utah, despite only starting 14 of 31 games for a team that went 17-14 overall and 11-7 to finish in third place in the Pac-12 last season.
He tested the NBA Draft waters earlier this spring, but removed his name from the pool of players right before the deadline in late May. Tillman then announced he was sitting out next season to help care for his mother, who has epilepsy, per a statement released by the school:
Donnie Tillman is taking a leave of absence from school due to personal reasons and will not be a part of the Runnin’ Utes basketball team in 2019-20.— Utah Basketball (@UtahMBB) June 7, 2019
↪️ https://t.co/huuPMrsC0l pic.twitter.com/eIdjbVvkSy
Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune soon after reported that Tillman in fact had entered the transfer portal and was looking to find a new program. The article stated it was possible that Tillman could apply for a hardship waiver if he went to a school like UNLV, as his mother lives in Vegas, or to Michigan, as he is from Detroit, Michigan and has family rooted there. It seems unlikely he would be granted a hardship waiver if he ultimately came to Rutgers. He would likely need to sit out next season per transfer rules and then have two more seasons of eligibility remaining after that.
Tillman was a 3-star recruit and ranked as the #234th best player in the 2017 class out of powerhouse Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada, per the 247 Sports composite rankings. He reportedly held over a dozen offers, including from high major programs Cal, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, USC, Marquette, Creighton, Boston College, in addition to Utah.
In his last five games of this past season, Tillman became an even more efficient scorer, averaging 14.4 points per game on 50% shooting overall, 40.7% from three-point range (11 of 27) and he made 15 of 18 free throw attempts in 32 minutes per contest. Tillman certainly would bring elite athleticism, dynamic scoring ability and solid shooting skills to Rutgers if Steve Pikiell and staff were able to win the recruiting battle for this coveted transfer candidate.