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Nov. 8, 2006

Moraga, CA - Saint Mary's head men's basketball coach Randy Bennett announced today that Patrick Mills (Canberra, Australia) has signed to play for the Gaels next season. In his six years, Mills becomes the fifth player from Australia that Randy Bennett has brought to Saint Mary's College.

"We are extremely excited to add a player of Patrick's caliber to our basketball program," said Bennett, who also inked SMC's all-time leading scorer Daniel Kickert out of the Australia Institute of Sports five years ago. "Mills not only possesses great talent as a point guard, but coming from a program as prestigious as AIS, he has tremendous leadership ability, character, and understands winning at a high level."

Mills is a 6-foot 180-pound point guard that is considered one of Australia's top basketball prospects. This past year, Mills became the youngest player to ever be invited to Australia's National Team "The Boomers" training camp. The camp was a tryout for the 2006 FIBA World Championships, in which 22 players competed for 12 spots.

"A big reason for me choosing Saint Mary's was the relationship that I developed with the coaching staff and the current players," said Mills. "I really like Randy's coaching philosophy, character, charisma, and the fact that he cares so much for his players. All of these factors were strong influences on my decision to play at Saint Mary's over any other school that recruited me."

In 2003, Mills earned a scholarship to attend the Australian Institute of Sport and was a member of the institutes team that toured the United States in 2005. That season at AIS, 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 was named the winner of the 2006 SEABL U/21 Australian Youth Player of the Year award. Mills averaged 18.1 points and 3.9 rebounds and helped the AIS to a 16-10 regular season record, finishing third in the league, behind a 12 game winning streak mid way through the year. The 2006 SEABL East Men Australian Youth Player of the Year finished the season third in assists in the SEABL, averaging 4.37 per game and finished fourth in the Golden Hands Award. He recorded double-digit points in 19 of 21 games and scored a season-high 25 points against Kilsyth in the second round of the league championships.
 

 

After earning the player of the year 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 athlete to win the Deadlys Award was 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Cathy Freeman. In addition to the Deadlys Award, he was named the 2006 Australia Basketball Player of the Year and named the National Sportsperson of the Year by the NAIDOC.

Bennett added, "We expect Patrick to have a positive effect on our program in many ways. His dynamic personality gives him a leadership ability that will benefit Saint Mary's College on and off the floor."

Mills was a member of the international 2006 World Junior Select Team that competed against the United State in the 2006 Nike Hoop Summit Game. The Nike Hoop Summit Game matches the top international players against the top United States high school players. In that game, Mills scored eight points and dished out six assists.

As a member of the 2006 Junior National Men's Team, Mills 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.

Following in the footsteps of Australia natives Daniel Kickert and Adam Caporn, who joined the Gaels in 2002 and 2003, Mills will join fellow Australians Lucas Walker and Carlin Hughes for the 2007-08 season. Walker and Hughes transferred to Saint Mary's from Montana State at Billings in the summer of 2006 and will redshirt the 2006-07 season.