The rumblings on social media sure make it sound like senior Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Killian Tillie will make his first appearance this season.
Tillie has missed the start of the season since a little bit of surgery on his knee to “clear things up.” It was the latest injury setback for the talented Gonzaga forward, who just can’t seemingly stay healthy for long stretches at a time.
As a sophomore in 2017-18, Tillie averaged 12.9 points per game, shooting 47.9 percent from long range. A hip injury suffered mere moments before tip-off against Florida State in the Sweet 16 scuttled the Zags year and his dream of hopping off to the NBA.
Last season, as a junior, the injury gods weren’t any kinder to Tillie. Tillie suffered a stress fracture in his ankle and missed the entire non-conference, only to injure his foot midway through February. He was able to return before the end of the season but was largely ineffective.
Through four games this season, the Zags have run pretty smoothly without Tillie, but there is no denying his ability to shoot the ball will help Gonzaga immensely. When fully healthy, Tillie is one of the more unique big men in the nation. The Zags, already a top 10 team, will be much improved if he is able to make a lasting impact this season.
Of course, Tillie might also not play tonight. The coaching staff has understandably taken it quite slow with his recovery, and he isn’t “needed” until the Battle 4 Atlantis next week. Getting a couple of games of real competition under his belt would be a nice welcome for everyone.