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  • Writer's pictureCanada West

Karl Tilleman (MBB | Student-athlete)

NAME: Karl Tilleman


CATEGORY: Student-Athlete

SPORT: Men’s Basketball

YEARS ACTIVE: 1979-1984


  • Voted Dinos greatest athlete of all-time in 2007

  • Two-time CIAU Player of the Year (1982, 1983)

  • Three-time CW Player of the Year (1981, 1982, 1983)

  • Two-time University of Calgary Male Athlete of the Year (1981, 1983)

  • Represented Canada at 1984 and 1988 Olympics


In 2007, the University of Calgary celebrated its 40th anniversary with an online poll to determine its greatest athlete of all-time.

From a litany of deserving candidates one name emerged: Karl Tilleman.

One of the most prolific scorers of Canadian university basketball’s pre-three-point era, Tilleman played guard for the Dinos from 1979-80 to 1983-84, graduating as their all-time leader with 2,050 points in 79 regular season games. He led the nation in scoring in both 1981-82 and 1982-83, while topping Canada West in points for three straight seasons through 1983-84.

In 1982, Tilleman became the first Dino to be named Player of the Year in Canadian university men’s basketball, an honour he received again the following year. He was a CIAU First Team All-Canadian as well an unanimous Canada West First Team All-Star for four seasons in a row, 1980-81 to 1983-84 and was voted Canada West Player of the Year three times (1981, 1982, and 1983). Tilleman was twice awarded University of Calgary Male Athlete of the Year (1981 and 1983).

Tilleman was a two-time Olympian, representing Canada at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Games. At the '88 Games in Seoul, he set the Olympic record with 10 three-pointers in a single game, which has been equalled only once (2012 - Carmelo Anthony). Between his fourth and fifth years at the U of C, Tilleman won gold as a member of Team Canada at the 1983 World University Games in Edmonton.

The Denver Nuggets selected Tilleman 79th overall in the 1984 NBA Draft. Tilleman would go on to earn a law degree at Brigham Young University in 1990, and has had a lengthy legal career. He is presently a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Dentons - the largest law firm in the world.

At the final regular season game of his storied Dinos career, Feb. 25, 1984, Tilleman had his number 30 retired by the Dinos. The University of Calgary Athletic Hall of Fame enshrined Tilleman with its 1995 class, and he has also been inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.


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