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Gonzaga Basketball

Rui Hachimura makes surprise visit to the Kennel for Gonzaga’s Senior Night game against Saint Mary’s

Rui Hachimura is welcomed by Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Killian Tillie  during Senior Night before the start of the West Coast Conference game against Saint Mary’s on  Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, at McCarthy Athletic Center. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga won the pregame on Senior Night prior to facing Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

The public address announcer introduced four senior managers, followed by seniors Admon Gilder, Ryan Woolridge and Killian Tillie.

And then a surprise: Rui Hachimura, who would have been a senior but turned pro following his junior season, addressed the crowd via videoboard message for about 30 seconds before the screen froze.

Hachimura walked onto the McCarthey Athletic Center floor seconds later to a thunderous ovation from the 6,000 fans. Hachimura, wearing his No. 21 Gonzaga uniform, took a seat courtside after the pregame ceremonies to watch the Zags take on rival Saint Mary’s.

It was reminiscent of 2014 when Kelly Olynyk, who left for the NBA following his junior season, returned to the Kennel wearing his No. 13 Zags uniform for what would have been his Senior Night game.

Hachimura is averaging 13.9 points and 6.0 rebounds in his rookie season with Washington. The Wizards selected Hachimura ninth overall in last June’s NBA draft. The Wizards face Golden State on Sunday.