A closer look at new UA head coach Tommy Lloyd’s international recruiting

Apr 14, 2021, 8:23 PM | Updated: Apr 15, 2021, 8:11 am

Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd looks on during the college basketball game between the Gonzaga...

Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd looks on during the college basketball game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Pepperdine Waves on January 30, 2021 at the Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, CA. The game was played without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Gonzaga Bulldogs throughout the last 20 years have flourished with international talent coming through the program — and much of that recruiting success is credited to new Arizona Wildcats head coach Tommy Lloyd.

During Lloyd’s tenure with the Bulldogs from 2001-2021, Gonzaga had five international players get drafted by the NBA including: Ronny Turiaf, Mario Kasun, Kelly Olynyk, Rui Hachimura, and most notably, two-time NBA All-Star Domantas Sabonis.

Sabonis, son of NBA Hall-of-Famer Arvydas Sabonis, spent two years at Gonzaga where he was named to the West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team in 2015.

During his second season in 2016, Sabonis made the First-Team All-West Coast Conference averaging 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds that season.

Now in his fifth season in the NBA, Sabonis has made two All-Star appearances and is averaging 19.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and six assists for the Indiana Pacers this season.

During the 2018-19 season, the Bulldogs had four international players on roster that featured Killian Tillie (France), Joel Ayayi (France), Filip Petrusev (Serbia) and NBA first-round draft pick Hachimura (Japan).

Gonzaga, led by Hachimura, finished the season with a 33-4 record as Hachimura went on to average 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

The Bulldogs made it to the NCAA Tournament that season, advancing all the way to the Elite Eight before losing to Texas Tech.

The Washington Wizards would go select Hachimura as a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Along with Sabonis and Hachimura, Gonzaga produced other NBA talent including Turiaf, who was drafted in 2005 and was apart of the 2012 Miami Heat championship team.

Turiaf would go on to play 10 years in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Houston Rockets forward Olynyk spent three seasons with the Bulldogs, appearing in 101 career games for Gonzaga averaging 8.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists.

In 2013, Olynyk was traded on draft night by the Dallas Mavericks to the Boston Celtics.

Other notable international players who have played under Lloyd at Gonzaga include J.P. Batista (Brazil), Elias Harris (Germany), Kevin Pangos (Canada) and Przemek Karnowski (Poland).

Arizona Basketball

Caleb Love, North Carolina transfer, Arizona Wildcats...

Arizona Sports

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona hoops

Caleb Love, who led the North Carolina Tar Heels in scoring, announced Tuesday that he will transfer to join the Arizona Wildcats.

5 days ago

Conrad Martinez Arizona Wildcats...

Jake Anderson

Wildcats hoops nabs commitment from Spanish guard Conrad Martinez

Joventut Badalona point guard Conrad Martinez of Spain committed to play basketball for the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday.

10 days ago

Keshad Johnson #0 of the San Diego State Aztecs celebrates by cutting down the net after defeating ...

Arizona Sports

Arizona basketball lands San Diego State transfer Keshad Johnson

San Diego State transfer Keshad Johnson announced his commitment to Arizona on Saturday at a gathering with head coach Tommy Lloyd present.

15 days ago

Pelle Larsson #3 of the Arizona Wildcats handles the ball against the UCLA Bruins in the first half...

Kellan Olson

Arizona guard Pelle Larsson returning after testing draft waters

Arizona guard Pelle Larsson is returning to the program next season after he briefly tested the NBA Draft waters, he announced on Instagram.

19 days ago

Tommy Lloyd...

Arizona Sports

Lithuanian big Motiejus Krivas commits to Arizona basketball

Lithuanian Motiejus Krivas told ESPN on Tuesday he has committed to the Arizona Wildcats, giving Tommy Lloyd's roster its fourth 7-footer.

19 days ago

Oumar Ballo #11 of the Arizona Wildcats is fouled by Maxime Raynaud #42 of the Stanford Cardinal in...

Arizona Sports

Arizona basketball schedules Thanksgiving Day game vs. Michigan State

The Arizona Wildcats men's basketball team will face the Michigan State Spartans on Thanksgiving of 2023.

20 days ago

A closer look at new UA head coach Tommy Lloyd’s international recruiting