While those players taken in the first round of the NBA draft justifiably got most of the attention, there seemed to be an inordinate number of college stars, such as DeJuan Blair who went in the second round. Which will make the biggest NBA impact? That's the question for this week's Monday Tip...[details]
HEADER PATRICK MILLS Point Guard St. Mary's College Gaels #13 5:11.2-176 Canberra, Australia Australian Institute of Sport
OVERVIEW Mills entered the NBA draft but did not immediately hire an agent, leaving the door open for his possible return to St. Mary's for the 2009-10 season.
Mills, one of Australia's top basketball prospects, became the youngest player in the history of Australia to compete in the Olympic Games on the basketball court, joining the squad for the event in Beijing, China. He became the second family member to compete for Australia in international competition. His uncle, Danny Morseay, is a National Basketball League Hall of Fame member and played for the Australian National Team in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.
Mills was the only college basketball player competing in the 2008 Olympics. In six games, he averaged a team-best 14.2 points per game while coming off the bench. He scored 20 points in the quarterfinals vs. the United States while recording three assists, two steals and no turnovers in 28 minutes.
Mills also became the youngest player to be invited to Australia's National Team "The Boomers" training camp. He had earned a scholarship to attend the Australian Institute of Sport and was a member of the institute's team that toured the United States in 2005. He averaged 11 points and three rebounds, and then at the U-18 Championships, he averaged 25 points, six rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
In 2006, Mills averaged 18.1 points and 3.9 rebounds and helped the Australian Institute of Sport to a 16-10 regular season record, finishing third in the league. The 2006 South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) East Men Australian Youth Player of the Year finished the season third in assists in the league, averaging 4.37 per game and finished fourth in the Golden Hands Award.
Mills was named the most promising new sports talent at the 2006 Deadlys Awards. The Deadlys Awards honor Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders achievements in sports, music, entertainment and community. The last Aboriginal born athlete to win the Deadlys Award was 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Cathy Freeman.
In addition to the Deadlys Award, Mills was named the 2006 Australia Basketball Player of the Year and named the National Sportsperson of the Year by the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC). He was a member of the international 2006 World Junior Select Team that competed vs. the United State in the 2006 Nike Hoop Summit Game.
In that game, Mills scored eight points and dished out six assists. As a member of the 2006 Junior National Men's Team, he helped Australia defeat New Zealand and qualify for the 2007 Junior Men's World Championships. He was awarded the RE Staunton Medal, which is given to the most outstanding player at the National U-20 Championships.
Mills was also named the Southeast Australian Basketball League U-21 Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007. He was a member of Australia's U-19 national team that posted an 8-1 record and a fifth place finish at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championships in Serbia. He averaged 14.8 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game in the tournament. He also played for the Boomers squad in the summer of 2007, which helped Australia qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
In 2007-08, Mills enrolled at St. Mary's College. He was named first-team All-West Coast Conference and the WCC Newcomer of the Year. He was selected Player of the Month for November and was a three-time WCC Player of the Week choice. He started all 32 games for the Gaels in his true freshman season, setting a Saint Mary's freshman record for points in a season with 472 (14.8 points per game). He also led the team with 57 steals, the second-best total in a season by a Gael. He averaged 3.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game.
Mills was an All-West Coast Conference and a "high major" All-American first-team pick by CollegeHoops.net. He started the first 20 games before breaking his right hand vs. Gonzaga on Jan. 29, missing the last nine games of the regular season. Before his injury, the Gaels were 18-1 overall and were riding the nation's longest winning streak at 15 games. The Gaels were ranked as high as 18th in the country in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, the highest ranking in the coaches' poll in school history.
Mills averaged a team-leading 18.4 points per game, while averaging 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game during his sophomore season. He helped Saint Mary's post a school record 28 wins during the 2008-09 campaign, as the Gaels completed the year with a 28-7 overall record and a quarterfinal finish in the National Invitational Tournament.
Mills was a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, which honors the nation's top point guard, and was selected to the Naismith Trophy Award midseason Top-30 list, which honors the nation's top player. He was twice named as WCC Player of the Week this season, giving him five such honors for his career. He scored in double figures in 25 of 26 games as a sophomore.
On April 16, Mills announced that he would enter his name into the NBA draft.
Mills was the first player under eighth-year head coach Randy Bennett to declare early for the NBA draft. Frank Kudelka (1944-47) is the only player in school history to leave early for the NBA. Kudelka played three seasons at Saint Mary's before leaving for the NBA following his junior campaign.
2008-09 SEASON First-team-All-West Coast Conference pick...Added first-team High-Major All-American honors from CollegeHoops.net...Finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, which honors the nations top point guard...Selected to the Naismith Trophy Award Mid-Season Top-30 list, which honors the nation's top player...Twice named as WCC Player of the Week this season (11/24/08 and 12/8/08), giving him five such honors for his career...Named to the 76 Classic All-Tourney Team, averaging 20.3 points and 3.3 assists per contest and garnered Shamrock Office Solutions Classic All-Tournament honors...Scored in double figures in 25 of 26 game as a sophomore, scoring 20 or more points 10 times...Started the first 20 contests before breaking his hand vs. Gonzaga, missing the final nine regular-season games with a broken right hand, and returned to action for the WCC Tournament...Led the team in scoring with an 18.4 average, as he totaled 478 points on 163 of 405 field goals (40.2 percent), 67 of 198 3-pointers (33.8 percent) and 85 of 99 free throws (85.9 percent)...Ranked second on the team with 101 assists (3.9 assists per game) and 57 steals (2.2 steals per game)... Blocked six shots and had 75 turnovers.
2007-08 SEASON First-team All-West Coast Conference selection and named the WCC Newcomer of the Year, in addition to being chosen WCC Player of the Month for November...Three-time WCC Player of the Week pick (11/16, 12/24 and 2/19)...Named the MVP at the Rainbow Classic and the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic...Started all 32 games for the Gaels, as he set a Saint Mary's freshman record for points in a season with 472 (14.8 points per game), hitting on 161 of 375 field goals (42.9 percent), 61 of 189 3-pointers (32.3 percent) and 89 of 117 free throws (76.1 percent)...Handed out 111 assists (3.5 assists per game) and registered 57 steals, which ranked as the second-best season total in school history...Pulled down 66 rebounds (2.1 rebounds per game) and had three blocked shots while becoming the fifth player in school history to log over 1,000 minutes in a season (1,027)...Was the first SMC player to start as a freshman since fellow Australian Daniel Kickert started in 2002.
CAREER NOTES Mills started 56 of 58 games at St. Mary's, scoring 950 points as he averaged 16.4 points per game. The 950 points are the most any Saint Mary's player registered in their first two seasons...Set a SMC freshman record when he scored 472 points in 2007-08, and guided the Gaels to a 25-7 overall record, and a first round appearance in the NCAA Tournament...Led the Gaels to a 46-10 record in the games that he started...His scoring average of 16.4 points tied Odell Johnson (1955-57) for eighth in school history...His 128 3-point field goals made rank 10th and his 387 3-point attempts rank eighth in school annals...His 67 3-pointers made in 2008-09 rank eighth and his 198 attempted treys that year rank fourth on SMC's season-record chart...Started 32 games as a freshman, the fourth-highest season total in Gaels' annals...Logged 1,027 minutes of action in 2007-08, only the fifth player in school history to amass over 1,000 minutes in a season...Made 80.6 percent of his free throw shots (174-216) during his career, ranking eighth on the school's all-time record list...His average of 3.7 assists per game (212 total) placed seventh on St. Mary's career-record list...His average of 2.0 steals per game rank second in school annals behind Erick Newman (2.3 steals per game, 1987-89)...His 114 total steals rank sixth on the Gaels' all-time record chart...Made 57 steals in each of his 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, the third-best season totals in school annals, topped by Erick Newman (72 in 1988-89) and Diamon Simpson (61 in 2008-09)...His average of 2.2 steals per game as a sophomore rank behind Newman's 2.7 average in 1988-89 on the Gaels' single-season record list.
HIGH SCHOOL Earned a scholarship to attend the Australian Institute of Sport (Canberra, Australia) and was a member of the institute's team that toured the United States in 2005...That year, he averaged 11 points and three rebounds...In 2006, Mills averaged 18.1 points and 3.9 rebounds and helped the Australian Institute of Sport to a 16-10 regular season record, finishing third in the league...The 2006 South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) East Men Australian Youth Player of the Year finished the season third in assists in the league, averaging 4.37 per game and finished fourth in the Golden Hands Award...Named the "most promising new sports talent" at the 2006 Deadlys Awards. The Deadlys Awards honor Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders achievements in sports, entertainment, music and community. The last Aboriginal born athlete to win the Deadlys Award was 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Cathy Freeman...In addition to the Deadlys Award, Mills received the 2006 Australia Basketball Player of the Year Award and was named the National Sportsperson of the Year by the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC).
INJURY REPORT 2008-09: Suffered a right hand fracture vs. Gonzaga (1/29), missing the final nine games of the regular season.
OTHER TOURNAMENTS/TEAMS 2008 OLYMPICS: Played for the Australian basketball team in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China... Was the only collegiate basketball player competing in the 2008 Olympic Games and was the youngest player in the history of Australia to compete in the Olympic Games in basket-ball...In six games, he averaged a team-best 14.2 points per game while coming off the bench in each game...Averaged 2.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, and 23 minutes per game...Tied for the team lead with 10 steals, and was second on the squad with 12 assists, as he shot 47.0 percent (31-66) from the floor, 36.4 percent (8-22) from 3-point range, and 83.3 percent (15-18) from the free throw line...Scored 20 points in the quarterfinals vs. the United States while recording three assists, two steals, and no turnovers in 28 minutes...Scored an individual tournament-high 22 points vs. an Argentina squad that included five NBA players.
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL TEAM: Mills became the youngest player to be invited to Australia's National Team "The Boomers" training camp....At the 2005 U-18 Championships, he averaged 25 points, six rebounds and 3.5 assists per game...Member of the international 2006 World Junior Select Team that competed vs. the United State in the 2006 Nike Hoop Summit Game...In that game, Mills scored eight points and dished out six assists...As a member of the 2006 Junior National Men's Team, he helped Australia defeat New Zealand and qualify for the 2007 Junior Men's World Championships...Awarded the RE Staunton Medal, which is given to the most outstanding player at the National U-20 Championships...Named the Southeast Australian Basketball League U-21 Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007...Was a member of Australia's U-19 national team that posted an 8-1 record and a fifth place finish at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championships in Serbia...Averaged 14.8 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game in the tournament...Also played for the Boomers squad in the summer of 2007, which helped Australia qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
PERSONAL General Studies major...Only child of Yvonne and Benny Mills...Uncle, Danny Morseay, is an NBL Hall of Fame member and played for the Australian National Team in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics...Born 8/11/88...Resides in Canberra, Australia.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: Undersized for a point guard, but compensates with excellent court quickness, a unselfish mentality (looks to pass to others rather than forcing his own shot) and very good quickness off the dribble...Has a decent wingspan (6-foot-2) and standing reach (7-11) for a player his size...Best when he operates with the ball in his hands, as he utilizes his quickness and effective penetrating skills to draw contact, greatly improving his free-throw shooting arch (made 76.9 percent of his free throws as a freshman, compared to 85.9 percent as a sophomore)...Good floor leader whose youth will lead to poor decision making, but he's a disruptive defender with good timing in the passing lanes...Has the ball-handling skills and sure hands to execute the quick pass to cutters on the way to the rim and gets a high arc when lobbing tosses to frontcourt teammates on post entry passes...Keeps the ball low to the ground pushing up the court and is the type that shows no hesitation feeding others in transition...Has become a fan favorite for his aggression and flair for the dramatic...His speed is evident by his ability to deliver on the fast break; has loose hips to maintain his low center of gravity when angling or turning the corner to take a wide loop to the basket...Has the explosive initial step to beat most guards off the dribble or get by a defender in one-on-one situations from half court...Has the ability to create his own shot and gets the ball off quickly with the range to connect from NBA 3-point distance...Elevates with ease and sets his feet well when popping mid-range jumpers...Excellent from the charity stripe as a sophomore...He has a quick stroke and high release shooting from the perimeter and the quickness to shake defenders and get the ball off easily...Also demonstrates good stop-and-go action, the hesitation moves to suddenly pull up off the dribble to uncork a long-range shot (must become more aggressive driving to the rim rather than settle for long-range jumpers)...Can be pushed around quite a bit on the defensive end, but uses his wingspan to get steals easily.
Negatives: His lack of size is a big liability. He does not display the defensive fundamentals needed to prevent bigger backcourt players from posting up and shooting over the top of him...More of a combo guard, as his average of 3.7 assists per game underline the fact that he's not a true point guard but he doesn't have the size to play the "2"...Inconsistent and streaky shooter who needs to develop better courage to drive to the basket, as he too often settles for jumpers and while he has the range, his accuracy (33.8 percent 3-point shooter) is adequate at best...Gets caught up in playing hero and takes too many contested shots...Lacks the height to get his shot off cleanly vs. bigger guards and perimeter defenders...His accuracy greatly suffered at the end of the year after first missing the last nine regular-season games with a right wrist/hand injury (made just 32 of his final 103 field goal attempts, including hitting on only 16 of 57 treys)...Must develop a much stronger inside game, as he is an effective free throw shooter, but rarely gets the calls to get to the charity stripe (made just 216 visits to the foul line in 58 games and 1,894 minutes during his career)...Played at a lower level of competition but still made poor decisions as a shooter...Disruptive in the passing lane, but needs to stay in front of shooters on perimeter defense and for a player with such a good wing span, he fails to contest shots as often as he should...His frame is at maximum growth potential and it is obvious with the way opponents push him around on the court, that his frail-looking frame won't be able to handle long stretches of minutes on an NBA court.
Compares To: AARON BROOKS, Houston -- He's undersized and lacks NBA-level strength, Mills has had to rely on his long-range game more than he should, especially since he is not the greatest decision-maker when it comes to creating his own shots. He is unselfish with the ball, struggles to fight double teams and settles for too many contested shots. He has to become more aggressive finishing around the basket and show more patience and resist hoisting 3-pointers. He's a combo guard that lacks the size of a shooting guard and until he can show better passing ability, he will likely use his blazing speed as a change of pace reserve.