Updated: May 19
Killian’s presence on every team he has competed for can not be undervalued. From the collegiate level to international competition, he has left his mark in contribution. He is a player that does not make many mistakes when looking to critique his game but can always add to improve areas. His high IQ unlocks his ability to understand how to affect the game in different ways. But Kilian's history of injury is certainly the draw back and one of the main reasons he has not left the college game earlier to join the pro ranks. A top 15 pick without the injury history, Killian’s off court personality and attitude is definitely one to bet on. He understands the meaning of being a professional athlete, encompasses the care for his body in order to perform on the big stage. Also, being raised around professional athletes, Killian has had the privilege to see great examples of the ultimate sports professionals.
In the 2020 NBA draft, I consider Killian Tillie to be my “Darq Horse” pick amongst European prospects in the pool. Viewed as possibly a “high risk, high reward” pick, I believe the reward outweighs the risk. I have laid out a small bio, injury history, and summary of his final season with Gonzaga-
DOB: Born March 22nd, 1998 Paris France
Home Town: Cagnes Sur Mer, France
Height: 6’10 (2,08 m)
Weight: 220 lbs. (100 kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
Agency: Priority Sports (Andy Shiffman)
Killian grew up in a sports family in the southern France city of Cagnes sur Mer. His father Laurent, and mother Caroline, both played professional volleyball in league and Olympic play. Killian has two older brothers Kim and Kevin. Kim attended University of Utah on a basketball scholarship and has gone on to relish a career professionally in Europe. Kevin attended University of California Irvine on a volleyball scholarship, winning back to back NCAA titles and has gone on to embark upon an illustrious career professionally, winning league and international (France) titles (Kevin is coached by father, Laurent, on team France).
Before arriving at Gonzaga University, Killian attending the historical French sports academy of INSEP (Institut national du sport, de l'expertise et de la performance), developing in the basketball sector with CFBB (Centre federal de basket-ball). The team (under 18) also competed in arguably the most competitive 3rd divisions in Europe, NM1 France. In 2014 Killian saw success in international competition, guiding France under 16 squad to Gold during the European Championships in Latvia. He would also be voted tournament MVP. Killian would attend INSEP until the summer of 2016, electing to accept a scholarship offer and enrolling in Gonzaga University that fall.
2016-17: Feb 23rd Sprains right ankle in closing portion of game vs Portland. Sidelined for non-factor games (6 conference games) and plays limited minutes in the games he does play throughout WCC and NCAA tournaments.
2017-18: Suffers hip pointer but played in every game of the season.
2018-19: Missed the first 15 games of the season due to a stress fracture to the right ankle (underwent surgery; sidelined 8 weeks). Return to action January 5th, 2019 against Santa Clara.
February 7th against San Francisco re injures same foot, MRI reveals partially torn plantar fascia. Returned to action March 11th during the WCC conference tournament and played out the rest of the season with Gonzaga being eliminated by Texas Tech in the NCAA west regionals.
May 3rd Sprains left ankle in NBA workout with Atlanta Hawks (Pulls out of draft combine and decides to return to Gonzaga for final season)
2019-20: Oct. Underwent a procedure (preventative measures) to clean up his right knee missed first 5 games of the season. Played first season game Nov. 19 vs University of Texas Arlington. Dec 30. Sat out vs Detroit Mercy (rest). Jan 30, 2020 Exits first half vs Santa Clara on defensive block shot which resulted in left ankle sprain. Did not return to the game. Monitored by staff missing 3 games after (Feb 1st, Feb 6th, Feb 15th).
Outlook: After suffering countless injuries during his collegiate career, Killian has proven to stick to a strict rehabilitation to return to previous form or better. Lower body injuries for bigger players can be alarming but Killian’s body structure is fairly proportionate. He may need to target different areas of the body to strengthen (foot and ankles). His family history suggest he will have a long and durable career (Father played 20 professional volleyball seasons, the eldest sibling Kim playing 11 seasons and counting in professional basketball, and middle sibling Kevin playing 7 seasons and counting of professional volleyball)
· Hi offensive IQ, understands how to move the ball and find the best shot (Under-rated passer)
· Very crafty with a soft touch around the rim with use of either hand (Good use of the floater for a big)
· Great foot work around the basket when creating space on post up, (very efficient post up attack)
· Great at catch and shoot from 3, especially shooting the trail 3 from the top of the arc, and 45° from either the right or left
· Highly effective in PnR offense, whether rolling to the basket or popping to the open area to shoot.
· Active on the offensive board getting put backs or creating extra positions
Areas to improve:
· 1 on 1 isolation dribbling. Taking slower defenders off the dribble.
· Shooting off the dribble (1 or 2 dribbles to separate from opposing defenders)
· Playing through contact (get stronger to absorb contact under the basket when going back)
· Being aggressive at the rim drawing fouls
· Understands defensive rotations, great help side defender
· Average athlete, but great timing and reaction makes him a good individual defender keeping hands high to contest shots and on the move against smaller attackers.
· Although he was a rim protector in college, moving forward, his stronger traits are understanding hand placement when defending and contesting shots.
· Understands how to defend without being prone to fouling (defending low post or 1 on 1 mid post)
Areas to improve
· Improving foot speed on defense, lack of speed shows on help and recover ball screen assignments.
· Closeouts, chopping feet and bringing hands high. This could be tied in with foot speed but needs to make a conscience effort to always bring up hands as shooter rises to shoot.
· Adding strength to defend bigger forwards that can play post up against him. His low post defense was effective in college, but next level players are a lot stronger.