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Thursday, January 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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French forward Killian Tillie commits to Gonzaga

Gonzaga logo (Courtesy)
Gonzaga logo (Courtesy)

The Gonzaga men’s basketball team continued to bolster its future frontcourt by landing a verbal commitment Saturday from forward Killian Tillie.

The 6-foot-8 native of France chose Gonzaga over Georgia Tech and Utah. Tillie’s older brother Kim played for the Utes.

“I chose Gonzaga because of its success with international players and because of the people that LOVE basketball there,” Tillie wrote in a text message.

He added that he looks forward to the opportunity to play and win a lot of games at Gonzaga. “They have a great plan for me,” wrote Tillie, who visited GU’s campus last weekend.

Kyle Wiltjer and Przemek Karnowski graduate after the 2015-16 season, and sophomore Domantas Sabonis is projected by many as a first-round NBA draft pick. Tillie joins center Zach Collins, No. 59 in ESPN’s Top 100 for 2016, in Gonzaga’s recruiting class. Former Missouri Tigers forward Johnathan Williams will sit out this season under NCAA transfer rules and becomes eligible the following year. Seven-footer Ryan Edwards will be a redshirt sophomore this season.

Tillie averaged 14.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists to earn MVP honors and lead France to a team title at the FIBA U16 European Championships. Tillie helped France take third place in the FIBA 3-on-3 U18 World Championships, defeating Collins and the U.S. team 20-18 along the way.

Tillie said his strength is his versatility. He can score in a variety of ways, including with the 3-point shot, and he’s capable of guarding multiple positions. He said he needs to get stronger, improve the consistency of his shot and work on driving with his left hand.

Tillie comes from an athletic family. His father Laurent was one of France’s all-time best volleyball players, competing in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, and currently coaches the national team, which includes Killian’s older brother Kevin. Caroline, Laurent’s wife, was team captain for the Netherlands national volleyball team. Kim plays professional basketball in Spain.

Killian is a high-level volleyball player but has decided to focus on basketball.

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