Tuesday, December 29, 1998

St. Mary's misses 7-3 Big Continent

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MORAGA, Calif. — St. Mary's coach Dave Bollwinkel holds up a shoe. It's size 22.

        “He wears 23 now,” Bollwinkel says.

        He is referring to Brad Millard, nicknamed “Big Continent” because he's 7-foot-3, 345 pounds. There is a photo on the wall of Bollwinkel's office of Millard dunking over former Wake Forest star and NBA rookie of the year Tim Duncan.

        “Nike makes 22s,” Bollwinkel said. “But to get 23s, they spent 10 grand to retool an entire assembly line to make six pairs of shoes just for him. Nike's never made a 23.”

        Here's the problem for Bollwinkel and St. Mary's College: Millard didn't play Monday night against Xavier and hasn't appeared in a game since November 1997.

        That's when he broke his left foot during warmups before a game against California. Millard had surgery last December and again in May, when doctors grafted a bone from his hip and put it over the break.

        In October, it happened again. Millard broke the same foot, only a different bone. This injury takes 10 weeks to 10 months to heal.

        “Some of it is, his feet are still growing,” Bollwinkel said.

        “So when do we get him back? That's the $64,000 question. I was getting my car washed and half a dozen people stopped me to ask. If everything goes perfect in the healing process, we may have him the first of February.”

        There is a chance Xavier fans could see “Big Continent” in person next season when St. Mary's plays at the Cincinnati Gardens.

        St. Mary's competes in the West Coast Conference, a mid-major program for which the loss of a future first-round NBA draft pick can really sting.

        Bollwinkel likens it to Xavier losing a Tyrone Hill or Brian Grant when it played in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. Then he adds: “This kid makes more of a difference. You don't get halfcourt layups against us. You just don't.”

        Millard, a Seattle native, went home for Christmas. There is a chance he won't be able to return at all this season, however, “The good news is all the X-rays to this point show he's healing right on time,” Bollwinkel said.


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