Today marks the day that Maryland basketball great Tom McMillen will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. While he was a superior basketball player and athlete, his skills on the court are hardly the only thing outstanding about McMillen.
Coming out of high school in Mansfield Pennsylvania, McMillen was ranked the number one basketball player in the entire country, which is why it was a huge deal when he decided to choose the University of Maryland as his college destination. McMillen played three seasons for the Terps from 1971 to 1974. Maryland knew they had scored a gem right away after McMillen averaged 20 points-per-game in his very first season. He would go on to have a career field goal percentage of .555, scoring a total of 1,897 points for the Terps. His impressive resume even earned him a coveted spot on the 1972 Olympic team. In 1974, McMillen was selected in the first round of both the NBA and ABA drafts and would go on to play professional basketball for 11 years.
In light of all of these accomplishments, however, it was clear that basketball was not the only thing on McMillen’s radar. While at Maryland, McMillen earned a Rhode’s Scholarship. Widely considered the most prestigious academic award there is, the Rhode’s Scholarship is only given to 32 students each year, and McMillen is still the only Rhode’s Scholar in University of Maryland history.
After his basketball career had commenced, McMillen decided to involve himself in politics. He was elected to represent Maryland in the U.S. Congress and served from 1987 to 1993 as Maryland’s 4th district representative. At a towering 6’11”, McMillen is thought to be the tallest-ever member of congress, standing a full 2 feet over current Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski. With all that Tom McMillen has accomplished, the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame will surely be getting much more than just another great basketball player.
The University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives is the proud home of Tom McMillen’s personal papers.