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Missouri sophomore center Jeremiah Tilmon will make himself available for this summer’s NBA draft and will have until late next month to decide if he’s returning to school for his junior season.

"It's always been a dream of mine since I started playing basketball to make it to the NBA," Tilmon said in a news release Monday. "I want to get everything I can out of this process. I'm excited to learn from it and get the feedback I need."

"Jeremiah has a chance to take advantage of a valuable opportunity and gather information through the process to help him moving forward," Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin said. "We fully support him using the resources available and we'll assist him in any way we can."

The 6-10 East St. Louis native is coming off an up and down sophomore season that saw him continue to struggle with fouls and turnovers, though his scoring and rebounding numbers both improved from his freshman year. He has not appeared on any NBA mock drafts in recent months.

Tilmon averaged 10.9 points and 5.1 rebounds this past season while fouling out in 10 games. He missed a home loss to Texas A&M after undergoing emergency dental surgery and was later benched for the start of MU’s game at Mississippi State after flipping the middle finger to Florida fans in the previous game. Otherwise he’s started in every game for the Tigers the last two seasons.

Under new NCAA rules put in place last year, underclassmen are able to sign with a certified agent and still return to school if they decide by May 29, as long as they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. Underclassmen can also return to school after going undrafted if they participated in the NBA Draft Combine. Under the new rules, agents can pay for meals and transportation for draft prospects and their families during the agent selection process and for meetings with pro teams. The rule changes were part of a wave of reform in the wake of the recent federal investigations into recruiting practices.

Underclassmen have until April 21 to announce plans to enter the draft, which means Missouri sophomore forward Jontay Porter has less than a week to make a similar announcement. Porter entered the draft last year then pulled out and returned to school after the NBA Draft Combine. He's since undergone two surgeries to repair a torn ACL, an injury he first suffered last October that wiped out his entire sophomore season. He tore the ligament again last month when he returned to playing before his doctors gave him clearance. Porter could still enter the draft and hope to be a second-round pick.    

 

Dave Matter

@dave_matter on Twitter

dmatter@post-dispatch.com

This article originally ran on stltoday.com.

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