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Breakdown of Rui's Week
Rui was easily one of the best players in the entire competition. He averaged a double-double in seven games with almost 21 points per contest and 11 rebounds. Even beyond those gaudy numbers, he shot 48 percent from the field. There were a handful of things that jumped out at me when watching Rui in Egypt, first and foremost, his athleticism. On multiple occasions, Rui grabs a board, runs the length of the court and gets his offense an easy basket. That's no simple task for a man 6 feet 8 inches tall. Also, his ability to pass is impressive having a few highlight dishes for his Japanese squad.
In addition, he's not just athletic, but built like a truck. When he heads to the NBA, he might not be able to live in the post as much, but at the collegiate level, he's just going to overpower a lot of opponents near the basket. He bulldozes his way through people for easy buckets. I mean, he can create his own shot off the dribble--Rui could be a one man wrecking crew because not only do you need to guard him down low, but you have to respect his 3-point shot. He's more than capable of hitting a few from deep.
Finally, and this is what the fans love, he is going to have highlight dunks. We saw glimpses of this during garbage time for the Zags, but his ability to play above the rim will just allow the offense to be so much more creative and effective.
Now, every Zag fan should be really excited for Rui to receive more minutes next season, but to be a little critical, though he makes athletic plays on defense, will he be consistent on that end of the court? Also, Gonzaga isn't Japan. Rui isn't going to be the focal point of the offense and he isn't going to be able to do whatever he wants. He'll have to work well in a system, which is a huge transition from how he's played for almost his entire life. Finally, can he manage foul trouble? Look back at Zach Collins, Domas Sabonis and Przemek Karnowski (in his early years). These were highly physical players who always got caught in foul trouble.
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo sports recently talked with Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd about Rui and his expectations for the young talent and told Eisenberg, "For Rui, year one was a big-time learning year...Year two is going to be an experience year. You're going to learn from your own mistakes. By year three, in my opinion, he'll be ready to be a featured star player at the college level."
There's a reason he didn't redshirt last year. The coaches were completely convinced he was not going to stay on campus all five years at Gonzaga and I'd be surprised if he makes it past his junior year. We cannot wait to see him more involved in 2017-2018.
Breakdown of Tillie's week
Let's make the transition to French stud Killian Tillie. At the FIBA World Cup, Tillie averaged roughly 12 points in seven games while also snagging almost nine rebounds per contest. Tillie shot a solid 46 percent from the field, but only made three triples, which is a bit low for him. Now, we know a little more about Tillie since he averaged 12 minutes per game as a freshman, so I won't go into too much depth, but he does a lot of things Rui does. Though, he might not have the ceiling of Rui Hachimura, he is a lot more polished entering his sophomore campaign.
Two things stood out from Tillie in this tournament. First, his ability to navigate the paint. Yes, he will get tough buckets down low, but just like Johnathan Williams, Tillie loves getting into the lane and taking baby jumpers. His mid-range game is what sets him apart on the court.
The other thing I noticed, his defense is going to make Mark Few very happy. Not only can he hang with elite offensive players, but he also snags a ton of 50-50 balls. He's tremendous on the glass and has a ridiculous motor.
Kraziness in the Kennel is almost exactly four months away and we cannot wait to see what Tillie and Rui do coming off a National Championship appearance for the program. Their complete stats from the tournament are below:
Saturday, July 1
R. Hachimura: 20 points (7-of-10, 3-of-3 on 3-pointers), 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 7 turnovers. Japan loses to Spain, 78-67
K. Tillie: 9 points (4-of-12, 1-of-3 on 3-pointers), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 5 turnovers. France beats Argentina, 62-53
Sunday, July 2
R. Hachimura: 15 points (7-of-15, 1-of-5 on 3-pointers), 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover. Japan beats Mali, 76-73
K. Tillie: 5 points (2-of-11, 0-of-4 on 3-pointers), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers. France beats New Zealand, 80-69
Tuesday, July 4
R. Hachimura: 21 points (9-of-16, 0-of-1 on 3-pointers), 11 rebounds. Japan loses to Canada, 100-75.
K. Tillie: 6 points (3-of-9, 0-of-2 on 3-pointers), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers. France beats Korea, 87-55
Wednesday, July 5
R. Hachimura: 22 points (7-of-18, 2-of-5 on 3-pointers), 14 rebounds, 3 blocked shots. Japan loses to Italy, 57-55.
K. Tillie: 20 points (9-of-14, 0-of-1 on 3-pointers), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals. France beats Puerto Rico, 84-66.
Friday, July 7
R. Hachimura: 21 points (4-of-8, 1-of-4 on 3-pointers), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocked shots. Japan beats Korea 77-64.
K. Tillie: 22 points (10-of-16, 0-of-1 on 3-pointers), 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, France loses to Canada, 73-67.
Saturday, July 8
R. Hachimura: 18 points (4-of-13, 1-of-3 on 3-pointers), 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocked shots. Japan beats Egypt 76-73 in overtime.
K. Tillie: 8 points (4-of-8, 0-of-1 on 3-pointers), 3 rebounds, 2 assists. France loses to Germany, 86-60.
Sunday, July 9
R. Hachimura: 27 points (10-of-20, 0-of-4 on 3-pointers), 11 rebounds, 3 assists. Japan loses to Puerto Rico 68-67.
K. Tillie: 17 points (6-of-12, 1-of-3 on 3-pointers), 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals. France beats Argentina, 69-63.
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