For quite sometime, I’ve been touting the idea that Silas Melson would reinvent himself as a defensive specialist and let the offense come naturally to him. On a team that has a long and storied list of glue guys, Melson would be the next to wear the crown.
However, against San Diego State, it looks like I, and many of us, might have been wrong. Granted, one game is about as small of a sample size as you can get, but take a look at Killian Tillie’s final box score from Monday night: 20 minutes, eight points, 10 rebounds, two assists, three steals, one block and zero turnovers.
That is a line. In fact, the only negative you can place on Tillie’s play on Monday are the three fouls and the missed free throw. Other than that, it was the perfect example of selfless team play, and there was one shot in particular that stood out.
That was everything that could have gone right for Tillie. He never gives up on the play, grabs the easy rebound (thanks to a total breakdown on the San Diego State side), and then finds an open Przemek Karnowski for the easiest points possible.
There were multiple points here that were rather impressive:
- Tillie tracked down the rebound, which looked like it would be a put back dunk and then involved actually fighting guys off.
- The first thing Tillie did was look for the more open man. Often times, younger players have a tendency to go back up, which is what most coaches will tell you to do. Tillie was already outside the paint and had a double team potentially closing in.
- Tillie is young but he plays with the poise of someone quite a bit older.
This is exactly what glue guys do, and as Agedude wrote about yesterday, Tillie has all the tools to fit the new role. He is long, he is athletic, he can shoot from outside, and he can defend the post in a pinch if needed.
Again, completely small sample size, but through two games Tillie is averaging 8.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 0.5 turnovers per game. On a team full of people who know how to score the ball, the Zags will need to find their supplemental players to fill in the gaps. Through two games, Tillie looks like he might be that man.