Brad Millard, the larger than life center for the Saint Mary’s Gaels from 1995-2000, passed away after suffering with chronic pain and infections in his foot, according to a social media post by his sister on Saturday.
“For the last 20 years my brother has struggled with pain and chronic illness caused by complications from repeated foot injuries, open wounds, infection and blood disorders,” Sarah Gould-Millard, sister to Brad, said on Facebook. “You also may not know is that he had a heart of gold and he was a fighter! Though he didn’t have much, he would give the shirt off his back to help others.”
“His fight was tremendous but in the end his body finally had enough and the infection won. Our hearts are broken.”
Millard was one of Saint Mary’s first real icons on the basketball court. Nicknamed “Big Continent” thanks to his 7’3, 345 pound frame, Millard broke out in a major way during the 1996-97 season. He started 30 games for the Gaels, garnering First Team All-WCC honors after averaging 12.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
He finished the season winning the WCC Tournament MVP Award while leading Saint Mary’s to their first tournament title. The Gaels eventually took on Tim Duncan and the Wake Forest Deamon Deacons in the NCAA Tournament, and Millard received a lot of praise after posting 16 points, six boards, and two blocks in the loss.
“He’s a lottery pick,” Wake Forest head coach Dave Odom said after the game. “Get him out of here. I’d say he surprised me how good he is. We had to get a feel for him, because he doesn’t have the history. He is very, very, very good.”
Unfortunately, injuries derailed Millard’s career from that point forward, and the dreams of being a lottery pick, or even an NBA player, went out the door as he appeared in just five games over the next two seasons.
He returned as a fifth year senior and appeared in 11 games, blocking nine shots in a 1999 game against Colorado.
Millard was one of the WCC’s most promising prospects of the 1990’s, and while it would be a while until SMC was back on the map – thanks to Randy Bennett and his Australian pipeline – gratitude is owed to “Big Continent” for his performance in 96-97.
Thoughts are with his family, loved ones, and the Saint Mary’s community at this time.
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Writer – Ducks Wire