Update: Killian Tillie has confirmed the news.
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Killian Tillie will be returning to Spokane for his senior season, Jeff Goodman reported on Tuesday.
Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie is expected to return to school, source told @Stadium. HUGE news for the Zags. If he can stay healthy, could be a guy who moves into first-round lock conversation a year from now.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) May 28, 2019
Depending on which side of the coin you are looking at, this is a great for the fans scenario, and a bummer for Tillie. The talented forward slogged through an injury marred 12 months, which has sent him from a potential first round draft pick in 2018 to most likely undrafted in 2019.
Tillie threw his name in the ring for the 2019 NBA Draft and had until tomorrow to return to Gonzaga. Tillie has the pedigree and the potential to land on most NBA teams, but this season, he landed on the “injury prone” list, playing in only 15 games in the 2018-19 season. Tillie injured his hip in a workout with the Atlanta Hawks, which many people theorized as the reason he withdrew from the NBA Draft Combine.
With Tillie back in Spokane, the Zags are getting an immense lift in terms of leadership and experience. Gonzaga’s frontcourt features Filip Petrusev, who only averaged 11.4 minutes per game. The 2019 freshman class is talented, featuring the likes of Oumar Ballo, Drew Timme, Pavel Zakharov, and Anton Watson, but all four of those players are true freshman.
For draft purposes, if Tillie was not able to showcase his stuff this season, next season will provide the perfect backdrop for why he deserves to be a first round pick. The Zags will be talented, but young, and will rely on Tillie as the main breadwinner in the post.