COLUMBIA, Mo. — When East St. Louis product Jeremiah Tilmon ended up flipping his college decision from Illinois to Missouri, Tiger fans were excited on multiple levels.
Not only was Tilmon a physically intimidating highly-regarded recruit, but he also came from right across the border and from one of Mizzou's biggest rivals.
After three seasons, Tilmon's flashes of dominance have never quite stuck for more than a game or two.
Now in his senior year with the Tigers, the 6'10" Tilmon has made it known he's not the same guy Tiger fans had seen the past three years. This is a Jeremiah Tilmon that has learned from his experiences.
"I just feel like my mindset has changed. I've been through some personal things in life that helped me get to the place where I am now and get some more peace. I feel like I was all over the place at first just finding myself on the court and off the court but now I have more discipline in my life and it's helping me on and off the court," Tilmon said.
By no means was Tilmon "bad" his freshman through junior seasons in Columbia. He averaged close to nine points and five rebounds a game while being counted on as Mizzou's biggest force in the paint.
But it's fair to say that Mizzou, and Tilmon himself, expected more.
One of the biggest things hampering Tilmon early in his career was foul trouble. In his first three seasons, he averaged 3.4 fouls a game. He was first in the entire SEC in the 2017-2018 season with 121 personal fouls.
He has fouled out in 21 of his 82 career college games.
But that's one of the things Tilmon is focused on improving in his final year with Mizzou, and now knows how to reign himself in, even when things aren't going his way.
"I feel like I've got back to where I'm running the floor like I'm supposed to, like I need to. I'm more poised if stuff isn't going my way you won't see me going to the refs looking for a call or nothing like that. I'm just letting the game play. I'm not rushing anything. I'm just a different person, honestly," Tilmon said.
He's not just looking to be a different player on the court, as a senior Tilmon is also one of the team's leaders, and said he's trying to pass on things he's learned to younger players like big man Jordan Wilmore.
Mizzou is filled with experience this season, as one of the most senior-laden teams in all of college basketball with nine upperclassmen on the roster.
Tilmon may be the most important of them all, and if he's able to elevate his game, the Tigers could be very tough to deal with in the SEC.
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