On the cusp of a promising season for Gonzaga men’s basketball, its most experienced veteran received three preseason national accolades.
In the past week, senior forward Killian Tillie has been named to the 2020 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, the preseason watch list for the 2020 NABC Division I Player of the Year and the Citizen Naismith Trophy Men’s College Player of the Year Preseason Watch List.
He was named to all three lists prior to last season before missing 22 games due to a stress fracture and partially torn plantar fascia. He declared for the NBA draft last spring, but ultimately withdrew, opting to remain at GU for his last season and potentially better his profile.
The native of Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, averaged 6.2 points per game and 3.9 rebounds during his partial junior season, but netted 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in a sophomore season in which he started every game but one. He is a career 47% shooter from beyond the arc, and his size and ability to space the floor could prove vital to coach Mark Few’s rotation.
“He’s a good player, we all know that,” Few said. “I think it’s no secret that he’s a really good player, a talented player, smart player. It’s just about getting a chance to get healthy and show everyone that in his final year.”
The health question is the biggest one, however. Tillie missed GU’s exhibition against Lewis-Clark State last Friday and first game against Alabama State on Tuesday as he recovers from a procedure on his knee. After two seasons struggling with injuries, he is hopeful his last season can be his best.
“I’m taking my time, trying to heal from it, taking my time with the trainer,” Tillie told The Spokesman-Review. “I couldn’t tell you right now [when I’ll be ready].