Kim Tillie was born in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, barely 38 kilometers away from Monaco. After a long basketball career with several teams in his native France, Spain and Greece, Tillie has come full circle by joining AS Monaco for the current 7DAYS EuroCup season. His parents and one of his brothers are or have been professional volleyball players. Kim's next mission, however, is to take Monaco to bigger heights, challenging for the EuroCup title. In this EuroCupbasketball.com blog, Tillie tells all about his team, the joy of playing close to his hometown after so many years, and how exciting the EuroCup season is for everyone in Monaco!
Hello everyone! First, a little bit about myself and my background. Both of my parents played volleyball professionally. Both of them played on the French national team, so we are talking about a pretty high level. My father is now the French national team coach. My brothers and I grew up in volleyball gyms. My brother Kevin is a professional volleyball player and my youngest brother, Killian, plays basketball in the United States, at Gonzaga. Every weekend, we were at the games, watching my father play, so we really grew up in gyms. My parents actually signed me up to basketball practices after I had played soccer for four years. When we moved to a different city, my parents didn't want me to play soccer anymore because maybe I was too tall already at age 10! They signed me up for basketball because there was not a volleyball team in that city. Maybe they thought I would play volleyball later, but after that, I never stopped playing basketball!
"It is great to be back home. I am half an hour away from my family!"
So I have been moving around for a while and now, for the first time in seven years, I am really close to my hometown, Cagnes-sur-Mer. I have lived in many different countries for so long that now I feel like a foreign player coming back to France. It is great to be back home. I am half an hour away from my family. We live right outside Monaco, in a city called Beausoleil, which is 15 minutes away from the gym. Once of the nicest things about being back home is that my family and friends come can to see my play: my parents, my friends, my grandmother, my uncle... It is a nice to play in front of so many people I know, and have dinner with them afterwards!
As for the EuroCup, we are not in the Top 16 yet, so that is one goal we have to reach as soon as possible. We had a difficult schedule in the past month, with a lot of road games, and we struggled a little bit. Now we have home games coming up and we have to take advantage of this to qualify in the best position for the next round, for sure. We just beat Promitheas again -- in fact, we have been the only team until now to beat them. They have a really good team but we played really well against them, especially in our most recent game at home. We played together, with a lot of energy, and our new arrival Norris Cole helped us a lot, adding another threat on offense. We are in a good way and have to keep playing like this.
I mentioned Norris Cole, a guy who can run the floor and play with a lot of energy, but we also have Dee Bost, and the good thing is that they can play together. They can complement each other because both of them can play at the point guard and the shooting guard positions. We now have a lot of weapons on the court. Everybody can score, everybody can create, and I think we have to keep improving, but with the talent we have and the way we work, I think we can be a very difficult team to beat.
We have been able to stay undefeated at home. We have great fans and a great atmosphere. We play with great confidence at home, and what we have to do is be more competitive and play better on the road. Like I said, we had a pretty tough schedule with road games in the last month. We have to keep growing at home and play the same way on the road. Our next two games are against Maccabi Rishon LeZion at home and ratiopharm Ulm on the road. They have a lot of weapons and nothing to lose. They will play with a lot of freedom and sometimes it is tough to play against teams like that.
I haven't met Prince Albert yet but hope to do so soon. I heard he comes to a lot of games, but I am looking forward to meeting him when he comes to see us. It is very unique to play in a microstate like Monaco: the architecture, the roads, and the many fancy things that we see. It is great to play basketball in this city. And when it comes to the games, our fans are great. We have a pretty small gym but our fans are always there for us, showing a lot of support and enthusiasm, and that always helps us a lot.
"We have to play the way we want to play"
After playing against Rishon and Ulm, we will go against Virtus Bologna at home. Virtus is a very talented teams and we are looking forward to this game after losing to them in Bologna due to a heartbreaking shot by Milos Teodosic at the buzzer. We will want to show that we are a very good team, too. Virtus is one of the best teams in the EuroCup and I am really looking forward to playing against them again. We want to see what our level is when we play against them.
Like I said before, we want to finish in the best position in our regular season group. We are not mathematically qualified yet, and this is the priority right now. We need to finish in the highest spot possible to reach the Top 16. We are ambitious and work hard every day to get to the highest level!