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2018-2019 Player Preview: Killian Tillie

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Returning for his junior year, Tillie seeks to build on his already impressive Gonzaga resume

NCAA Basketball: Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since Killian Tillie came on the scene at Gonzaga, big things were expected from him – he did not disappoint. As a freshman during the 2016-17 season he averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 12.3 minutes. During his sophomore season in 2017-18, he was Gonzaga’s second leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds during 26.2 minutes of play per game.

With being a young and successful player early in a collegiate career, comes the inevitable fear from fans that a player will declare for the NBA draft. Declaring for the draft this off-season had crossed Tillie’s mind – all while Zags fans and Spokane collectively sat on pins and needles. However, there were two roadblocks that swayed Killian from entering.

The first, being the inability to fully foresee where he stacked up in the draft. The projections for where Tillie would end up ranged from first round all the way to being undrafted and having to work the route of a free agent. Having zero legitimate idea of where he would end up is not the most appealing situation.

The other factor that complicated Tillie’s situation was a lingering hip injury that he sustained at the end of last season during practice. The injury ended up sidelining him for the Zags’ Sweet Sixteen loss against Florida State. With a May 30th deadline to pull out of the draft, there was no promise that he would’ve healed fully in time to work out with NBA teams.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-UNCG vs Gonzaga Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Looking toward this season, the 6-foot-10, 215-pound forward will really be focusing on becoming bigger and stronger which has been a priority since walking into McCarthey. To quote Mark Few upon Tillie’s recruitment in 2015, “Killian is a dynamic athlete that will end up being a very good faceup-type four. Once we get him in the weight room and work on his strength, he’ll be a very good player at the highest level.”

After shooting 58% from the field and 47.9% behind the arc last season, along with continuing to develop his body and skills, we can definitely look forward to some action-packed play from the Frenchman.