SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah forward Donnie Tillman saw a familiar face in his NBA workout on Friday. Tillman crossed paths with Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy at the Utah Jazz practice facility.
It was their first meeting since the Utes dropped a 78-69 decision to the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 2018. Tillman had nine points and nine rebounds that night, while Murphy finished with 11 points and 17 boards.
“We were talking about it earlier. He was talking about he wanted to get payback for a dunk I had on them at Minnesota,” Murphy said. “So it was cool to see him, just getting to talk to him and talking to him about his season, how his process is going and stuff like that. It’s really cool to see guys that I played against.”
Tillman wasn’t allowed to speak with the media following the morning workout because he has yet to officially declare for the NBA draft. He has until next Wednesday to withdraw his name from consideration.
What I saw out there was a player that’s got a nice, strong body — knows how to use it going to the basket. – Walt Perrin, vice president of player personnel for the Jazz, on Donnie Tillman
The reigning Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year average 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Utes last season. Tillman was joined at the Jazz workout by Murphy, Oshae Brissett (Syracuse), Corey Davis Jr. (Houston), Jon Axel Gudmundsson (Davidson), and Zach Norvell Jr. (Gonzaga).
“What I saw out there was a player that’s got a nice, strong body — knows how to use it going to the basket,” said Walt Perrin, vice president of player personnel for the Jazz. “He needs to probably learn how to finish a little bit better. His shot was a little bit inconsistent. He needs to work on that to go further in his profession, but he showed a lot of energy.”
Even so, Perrin acknowledged that he had to get after Tillman a couple of times because of a loose shoe string. Perrin reminded Tillman that he plays in Utah and should be used to the altitude instead of trying to take breaks.
Before the day was complete, Perrin said that Tillman and the others would receive some advice and feedback in terms of what they need to work on and how to get better.
Tillman is the second local player to workout for the Jazz this month, joining Utah State center Neemias Queta who was at the facility on May 11.
Last year, Utah’s Sedrick Barefield tested the NBA waters before opting to return for his senior season. He went on to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors.