This week in What the Hell Happened To, we remember a seldom-used big man who played for the Celtics in the early 80s. His name was Darren Tillis. Tillis was the Celtics' first round pick in the 1982 draft out of Cleveland State. He was picked #23 overall. At 6'11 and 215 he'd wear #52 for the Celtics his first year.
That would be his only time with the Celtics since after 15 games, he was dealt to Cleveland for Scott Wedman. 37 games with the Cavs that season and 74 the following season in Golden State, and his NBA career was over in Dontae' Jones quick-like fashion.
While Wedman and the Celtics were winning titles, Tillis would play in Europe from 1984-1990. He played in the Italian League from 1984-88, where he won two championships and averaged 20.0 points and 10 rebounds and also played in the Spanish League in 1989-90 (no word on whether he crossed paths there with the immortal Ramon Rivas).
It's amazing a deal like that would be made back then (actually no, it happened a lot back then; it just doesn't happen in today's NBA unless The Buffoon is involved); Tillis and the Celtics 1983 draft pick (Greg Kite) for Scott Wedman. In the likeness of Rick Robey, whose claim to fame was bringing in Dennis Johnson, Tillis without question will be remembered for netting Wedman, who would play key roles on the 1984-86 Celtics' teams.
I never saw Tillis play but based on his size, stats and complexion, I'm having a hard time not thinking he wasn't an earlier version of Patrick O'Bryant. I may be totally off base on that but someone who saw Tillis play may be able to confirm it. For his NBA career, Darren averaged 3.4 ppg and 2.5 rpg in 10 mpg. For O'Bryant's career to this point he's averaged 2.1 ppg and 1.4 rpg in 5.8 mpg.
Today Darren is an Assistant Coach at UCF. He also has a daughter named Christina Michelle Tillis.No word on whether he can coax Michael Stewart into getting off his ass and getting a job in Windmere, FL.