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Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie expected to return for senior season

Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie (33) battles Baylor’s Mario Kegler (4) during the second half of an NCAA Tournament game in March. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Killian Tillie’s status has been one of the biggest question marks regarding Gonzaga’s 2019-2020 roster. It appears he will return for his senior season.

Tillie is expected to return to GU, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. The school hasn’t confirmed Tillie’s decision, but one source said “expected” is probably the correct wording.

Tillie entered his name in the NBA draft last month but suffered a sprained ankle in early May during a workout with the Atlanta Hawks – his first and only NBA workout.

Tillie was invited to the NBA draft combine in Chicago from May 14-19, but he didn’t participate with his ankle apparently still on the mend.

Early entrants have until Wednesday evening to decide if they will remain in the draft or return to school. Players have to complete paperwork to officially withdraw from the draft.

Freshman forward Filip Petrusev also declared for the draft, but Gonzaga announced Tuesday that the Serbian native is returning for his sophomore season and won’t be pursuing any professional options.

Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, the Zags’ starting frontcourt last season, are expected to be first-round draft picks in June.

Tillie has been productive in his three seasons, but the talented 6-foot-10 forward from France has battled injuries each season.

Tillie was an important reserve in Gonzaga’s run to the 2017 national championship. He made 48 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaged 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in a starting role as a sophomore, but he missed the Sweet 16 loss to Florida State with a hip injury.

Tillie was limited to 15 games last season. He had surgery before the season to repair a stress fracture in his ankle. He missed most of February with a partially torn plantar fascia in his foot before returning for six tournament games, including Gonzaga’s four NCAA contests.