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Tillman, Winston excited for new opportunity in NBA Draft

Tillman was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies, Winston was taken by Washington Wizards
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 5:50 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Even almost a day later, former Michigan State standouts Xavier Tillman and Cassius Winston still can’t believe they were drafted into the National Basketball Association.

“I don’t even think I saw the team I got drafted to, like I saw my name flash up on the board, and it was just like...wow,” said Winston, who was taken 53rd overall by the Washington Wizards.

“I actually got picked in the NBA. It’s unbelievable,” said Tillman, who was selected 35th by the Memphis Grizzlies.

That feeling of elation was preceded by a bit of nervousness.

“I was fine until, like, 20,” said Tillman. “Once 20 came I was like ‘okay I could be up anywhere.’ Every pick I was standing up, and sitting down the whole time, it was definitely nerve-racking for me and my whole family.”

”Everything before you feel, but once your name gets called it’s like ‘wow, I just got drafted, that’s an amazing feeling,’” said Winston.

Now, Tillman joins former Spartan teammate Jaren Jackson Jr.

“Just to keep that relationship and rekindle that relationship is great,” Tillman said.

Winston is headed to Washington, further than he’s ever from his home.

”It’s a fresh start, new city, new people, new vibe, it’s something to adjust to, something to grow to, and figure out. I’m excited to do that,” Winston said.  

Tillman and Winston are now part of a draft class like no other, with only a month to prepare to play with their new teams.

“It’s going to be work, but I’m openminded, I’m ready to work,” said Winston.

”We’ve got a month to get ready for the season, a month to get right, a month to get with the new organization,” said Winston. “I’m ready to get started with that.”

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