Marcus Tillmon-Cornet, a rising sophomore, was expected to be entering a breakout campaign with the Wolverines. Instead, he's taking his talents to the Armed Forces. (Jeramy Stover/MJ)
Marcus Tillmon-Cornet, a rising sophomore, was expected to be entering a breakout campaign with the Wolverines. Instead, he's taking his talents to the Armed Forces. (Jeramy Stover/MJ)
Marcus Tillmon-Cornet, a rising sophomore, was expected to be entering a breakout campaign with the Wolverines. Instead, he’s taking his talents to the Armed Forces. (Jeramy Stover/MJ)

By JERAMY STOVER, Guest Reporter

Giving up something we love is never easy. Basketball was a huge part of life for Marcus Tillmon-Cornet ever since elementary school when he started playing the game.

Now it will come second to representing his country as Tillmon-Cornet has made the decision to join the Navy. He doesn’t have a set date to ship out but says he will find out “soon.”

Last year, Tillmon-Cornet was a rising player on the University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s basketball team. The 6-2 guard averaged 7.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and had 44 assists last season for the Wolverines. He started 19 games and was the third leading scorer on the team.

Tillmon-Cornet graduated from Lincoln Park High School in 2011 and said his greatest accomplishment in high school was “winning districts senior year,” when his team defeated Allen Park in the district finals. After graduating from Lincoln Park, Tillmon-Cornet headed north to Northern Michigan University and played basketball his freshman year. He admitted he did not see the court much that season, but was happy to get the experience.

After one semester at NMU, Tillmon-Cornet decided to return home to be closer to his family. With school still on his mind, he gave UM-Dearborn a lot of consideration. His older brother, Johnnie, was a big influence on going to UM-Dearborn, as the two originally planned to come and play for the Wolverines together. But in the end, only Marcus decided on playing basketball for the team.

In his only season sporting the maize and blue, Tillmon-Cornet said he had a “rough season.” With having a big role to fill and getting his first significant amount of playing time since high school, he called last year a “learning season,” but had no regrets on how the year played out.

Tillmon-Cornet admitted that the decision to join the navy was tough. He began thinking about joining the military before last school year. At the time, he was considering going into the Air Force, but a tattoo policy kept him from being allowed to join.

An Air Force recruiter told Tillmon-Cornet to talk to a Navy recruiter and that is when joining the Navy became an idea. If one day the Air Force changes its tattoo policy, Tillmon-Cornet said he would be open to transferring out of the Navy and into the Air Force.

Family means a lot to Tillmon-Cornet.

Growing up in a house with three brothers and one sister, all of whom also played basketball, Tillmon-Cornet said his proudest moment as a basketball player was being able to play with his family.

“Basketball came so much easier because I was doing it with family,” he said.

Not only did he get to play with both of his brothers, some of his cousins went to Lincoln Park just to play basketball with the family. Tillmon-Cornet spoke how his parents support his decision to join the Navy and know that he is “determined to be successful.” When asked if his mom had tried to talk him out of joining, Tillmon-Cornet said no, but that she joked that he has to buy her a car.

When asked what he will miss the most about basketball, Tillmon-Cornet quickly said “everything.”

“Playing for a team and representing my school,” were also things he’ll miss most about the game.

Tillmon-Cornet spoke about how he enjoyed representing UM-Dearborn. Soon he will sport a new uniform and fight a different battle with new teammates as a member of the Navy.