Justin Tillman has wasted no time becoming a fan favorite at VCU. The Detroit native has thrilled Ram Nation while on the floor his first two seasons, throwing down some of the most vicious dunks Ram fans have seen since the days of Kendrick Warren.
As a sophomore he led the Atlantic 10 in conference field goal percentage at an absurd 72.7%, ranked in the top-three in both offensive and defensive rebound percentage and ranked No.1 the league with an amazing 136.6 offensive rating, about 26 points higher than this year’s A-10 Player of the Year and potential early NBA draft entry, DeAndre’ Bembry.
But as exciting as his first two seasons on Broad St. were, they were just the appetizer.
Tillman is poised for a monster breakout in his second year under Will Wade. With the graduations of Melvin Johnson and Korey Billbury (particularly Billbury in this case), Tillman is in line for a solid boost in minutes that could see the Rams’ first double-double season average since Bernard Hopkins posted a 16.3-point, 10.1-rebound average during VCU’s 95-96 season that led to Sonny Smith’s only NCAA tournament birth.
The 6’7 forward has averaged just over double-digit minutes his first two seasons, checking in at 12.3 his freshmen year then 16.5 this past season. He played more than 20 minutes three times his freshman season then saw that number rise to 13 games this past year. There is a lot more to come as a junior, especially with the departure of starter Korey Billbury, who spent a good amount of time at the four spot this season under Will Wade.
Tillman has had several monster games early in his career, posting a 12-point, 21-rebound double-double at Dayton this season, a 12-point, 11-rebound performance in just 19 minutes against Saint Louis and a massive 27-point, 10-rebound night in just 25 minutes of action against Fordham this year. He’ll have ample opportunity for more of the same and then some next season and I can assure you, will not disappoint.