Gonzaga forward Killian Tillie is probable to return to the Bulldogs’ lineup as soon as Monday night.
Head coach Mark Few told Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports that Tillie would play against Pepperdine in the WCC tournament Monday night as long as there were no issues that came up before the game.
“If he feels good after shootaround [he’ll play]” Few said to Rothstein: “That is the plan.”
Tillie has been limited to only nine games this season as he’s been dealing with a partially torn ligament in his foot. One of the nation’s better frontcourt players last season, Tillie is only putting up 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game on the season. As a sophomore last year, Tillie put up 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three-point range.
Transfer forward Brandon Clarke has emerged as a more-than-suitable replacement for Tillie as he’s emerged as an All-American this season. But Tillie’s addition to the Gonzaga rotation would be huge for depth as freshman Filip Petrusev hasn’t played consistent minutes over the last few months.
The Bulldogs are trying to lock up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament as the WCC semifinals continue on Monday.
Over the years Gonzaga’s had a great deal of success with international prospects, not just recruiting them but developing them into high-level college basketball players. Saturday head coach Mark Few landed another international prospect, as forward Killian Tillie became the Bulldogs’ second commitment in the Class of 2016.
News of Tillie’s verbal commitment was first reported by Jim Meehan of the Spokesman-Review, and he joins center Zach Collins in the class to date.
The 6-foot-8 Tillie, whose older brother Kim played at Utah, is a native of France who plays for INSEP Academy in Paris. Last summer Tillie represented France at the FIBA U16 European Championships, averaging 14.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in helping lead the team to the title. Tillie, who led the event in field goal percentage (63.4 percent), was named tournament MVP.
Tillie also represented France in this summer’s FIBA U18 3-on-3 World Championships, an event in which the French finished third. France defeated the United States team, which included Tillie’s future teammate Collins, in the quarterfinals.
Tillie and Collins are key additions for Gonzaga moving forward, as they’ll lose seniors Kyle Wiltjer and Przemek Karnowski at the end of the 2015-16 campaign. Both Tillie and Collins have the skill to be immediate contributors for the Bulldogs when they arrive on campus, and given the departures they’ll need to be.