Columbia legend Jim McMillian dies at 68

Jim McMillian, one of the greatest men’s basketball players in Ivy League history, died Monday at 68. (Big Gaff Sports)

Jim McMillian, one of the most celebrated players in Columbia and Ivy League basketball history, died Monday at 68.

The Los Angeles Times reported McMillian died from heart failure complications at a hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. after being in failing health in recent months.

McMillian led Columbia to a No. 6 national ranking and the program’s last Ivy championship to date in 1968 and a No. 14 national ranking in 1969. In 1970, McMillian made his third consecutive All-America team, his third consecutive All-Ivy team, and won his third consecutive Haggerty Award for the best New York City college basketball player.

Columbia went 63-14 during McMillian’s three years as a varsity Lion, and the program’s ’68 league title was due to his 37 points on 22 shots in the team’s 92-74 Ivy playoff win over Princeton.

Read moreColumbia legend Jim McMillian dies at 68

Ivy 60 for 60: Jim McMillian

Columbia hasn't won an Ivy title since Jim McMillian graduated in 1970. (The Lions last won the crown in '68.)
Columbia hasn’t won an Ivy title since Jim McMillian graduated in 1970. (The Lions last won the crown in ’68.)

Following our countdown of the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s men’s basketball history this summer, Ivy Hoops Online is delighted to continue celebrating the 60th anniversary of modern Ivy League basketball by honoring the top 60 players in Ivy hoops history throughout the season (in no particular order):

Jim McMillian was a McDonald’s-level All-American who played for Brooklyn’s Thomas Jefferson High School. In college, much as Bill Bradley had done for Princeton, McMillian catapulted the Columbia basketball program from obscurity to national prominence by his sophomore year (with the able assistance of Dave Newmark, Heyward Dotson, Roger Walaszak and Washington Redskins Super Bowl lineman George Starke).

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Ivy 60 for 60: Rudy LaRusso

Rudy LaRusso was in an episode of Gilligan's Island once.
Rudy LaRusso was in an episode of Gilligan’s Island once.

Following our countdown of the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s men’s basketball history this summer, Ivy Hoops Online is delighted to continue celebrating the 60th anniversary of modern Ivy League basketball by honoring the top 60 players in Ivy hoops history throughout the season (in no particular order):

Between 1960 and 2007, Penn and Princeton dominated Ivy League basketball, winning 43 out of 47 championships. However, the first dominant team in the newly formed Ivy League was Dartmouth, led by All-American power forward Rudy LaRusso. Between 1956 and 1959, Dartmouth and LaRusso rendered the Penn-Princeton rivalry stillborn by winning three consecutive championships.

Read moreIvy 60 for 60: Rudy LaRusso