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ZagNative
12-23-2018, 09:34 PM
Fun piece from Jim Meehan in today's Spokesman-Review: (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/dec/23/gonzagas-international-players-find-holiday-cheer-/)

Some Gonzaga basketball players probably set sprinting records dashing through the airport early Saturday morning to catch flights home.

But several Zags, including four international players, won’t get called for traveling over the Christmas holiday.

The distance home and time pinch between Gonzaga’s rout over Denver on Friday night and a Wednesday practice doesn’t make it feasible for Killian Tillie (France), Joel Ayayi (France), Filip Petrusev (Serbia) and Rui Hachimura (Japan) to head home.

So they’re sticking together in Spokane.

“I’m going to spend time with those guys, the international guys,” Hachimura said.

That often involves a trip to assistant coach Tommy Lloyd’s house. It’s become a holiday tradition for Lloyd and his family to host international Zags on Christmas Eve, dating back to Ronny Turiaf’s GU career from 2002-05.

“My kids don’t know any different other than sharing it with the players,” said Lloyd, who is largely responsible for the program’s success recruiting overseas. “My wife (Chanelle) loves taking care of the guys and looking after them. It’s become a family deal.”

Asked what he wants from Santa this year, Hachimura sounds like he might be busy coaching up Mark Few’s daughter, Julia.

“I was actually talking about it with Coach Few’s daughter about Santa,” Hachimura said, “She said she doesn’t believe anymore so I was kind of shocked because I still believe in Santa.”