Zags' Tillie Has Ankle Surgery, Out 'til the New Year

Published on 31-Oct-2018 by Alan Adamsson

Basketball - NCAA Mens    NCAA Basketball Daily Update

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Zags' Tillie Has Ankle Surgery, Out 'til the New Year

When the Gonzaga Bulldogs fell short in their quest to make the Final Four in last spring's Big Dance, it wasn't their only setback:


Their objective, of course, is to have an opportunity to further boost their NCAA Tournament résumé.

  • When every other basketball power gets into their conference play, their strength of schedule goes up, but
  • When the Zags start playing the WCC's milquetoast-laden membership -- save for St Mary's and BYU -- theirs goes down.


It well and truly does. The Big Dance is Gonzaga's cash cow. The hoops program's rise literally saved the university.

The higher the tournament seed, then, the better their shot at an extended run, which raises revenues in everything from broadcast payouts to merchandise sales to more alumni donations and stronger enrollment.

After all, the Zags' non-existent football program can only bring in so much.

So, anything that impacts the Bulldogs' non-con fortunes is taken very seriously.

And this is why a key player's pre-season injury at most major programs will bring sighs of at least he'll be ready for conference play, but at Gonzaga, stuff like that creates mega-furrows on brows.


Or something.

Like French forward and returning starter Killian Tillie's ankle going under the knife.

Dude was valuable last season ...


... and expected to be even more so this season.

The non-con lineup is loaded. Their 2018-2019 schedule includes:

  • North Carolina,
  • Creighton,
  • Washington,
  • Texas A&M
  • Tennessee and
  • the Maui Invitational

Tillie's absence now means more of a workload for transfer Brandon Clarke and Godzilla 2.0, aka Rui Hachimura:


Those two are clicking already, and while the Zags also have a deep bench, Tillie's versatility at the front end of an eight-man rotation was stoking expectations of their being a No 3 seed or better come springtime.

That task is now more challenging.