City Paper is not for tourists.
Kevin Millen never got much attention as a member of the Georgetown University basketball team from 1991-’95. Millen averaged a very quiet 2.3 points per game over his career, and the first and last time Millen was heard from came in the championship game of the 1993 NIT, when he missed two shots in the closing seconds as the Minnesota Gophers defeated the Hoyas, 62-61.
But last week, away from the court, a lot of people heard about Millen. He was arrested for allegedly stalking Coach John Thompson. Millen had been banned from the campus after making what school officials described as threatening phone calls to his former coach and other members of the basketball staff for the better part of a year. When Millen violated the ban, he was taken into custody. Out on bail, he repeated the offense on Monday and was again arrested.
That makes Millen, if the allegations prove true, the first former Hoya to turn on the coach with such venom. But in recent years, products of his program have wreaked havoc on the rest of society with sad frequency.
Thompson came to the school in 1972, and with incredible quickness turned around a program that won just three games the year before his arrival. Throughout the ’80s, Georgetown had arguably the premier program in the country. As Thompson brought in a string of blue-chip big men like Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutombo, Hoya fans grew to expect their season to go well into March.
But for whatever reason, Thompson stopped landing big bodies who could man the pivot, and began giving away scholarships to little guys of ill repute. Coincidentally or not, the fortunes of the program have tumbled. He hasn’t brought a team to a Final Four since 1985. (The fact that Millen missed his shots in the lowly NIT, and not the March Madness of the NCAA tournament, is just one exemplar of the precipitous fall.)
Worse, while the team hasn’t been distinguishing itself on the court, many of its alumni have been disgracing themselvesand the schooloff of it. Millen joins a large group of ex-Hoya guards who have shown themselves to be small people, indeed.
Everybody’s heard about serial troublemaker Allen Iverson’s run-ins with the law, but here are some less-celebrated former denizens of Thompson’s Bad Boys Town:
Kenny Brunner: Last year, Thompson beat out felon magnet Jerry Tarkanian and Fresno State for the services of Brunner, a point guard from Compton, but only after the NCAA ruled that the player could void the letter-of-intent he’d already signed with Fresno. Everybody over at the Hilltop must be so proud Thompson won that battle. In March, Brunner was arrested after allegedly beating a man, cutting him up with a samurai sword, and robbing him of $280 and a camera, according to a number of news accounts at the time. Two months later, while out on bail for the sword-swinging episode, Brunner was again taken into custody after a college basketball coach in Los Angeles was robbed of $1,500. Witnesses told police that Brunner put a gun to the victim’s head, took his money, then pulled the trigger, according to several news accounts. The gun did not go off. Two days before he was to go to court to face charges from the gun incident, prosecutors dropped the case. Brunner is now awaiting trial for the initial robbery involving the sword.
Victor Page: Page, who played at McKinley Tech before signing on with Thompson, found himself without a sword when he got into an on-court scrap with former Washington Bullet Ashraf Amaya during a CBA game in January. Page ran to the sidelines, picked up a broomstick, and attacked Amaya. No charges were filed against Page, but he was suspended for 18 games, or about one-third of the entire CBA season.
Ed Sheffey: In August 1997, Sheffey, taking a page from Iverson’s speed-and-weed manual, high-tailed it after Prince George’s County police tried to pull him over for speeding. The point guard led the cops, who’d clocked his Ford Escort at 97 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone, on a two-mile chase that ended by the parking lot of Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. Sheffey, carrying a marijuana-filled cigar during the car chase, according to cops abandoned the vehicle and tried to escape on foot, but was apprehended after grappling with the lawmen. He was charged with possession of drugs, reckless and negligent driving, and fleeing and eluding a police officer. He agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charges, and was sentenced to counseling, community service, and a fine. In January, Sheffey suffered severe head injuries after he lost control of and crashed the Ford Ranger he was driving near El Paso, Texas.
Charles Smith: In 1991, the former Hoya point guard and team captain did his old school proud by running over two Boston University coeds in a Beantown crosswalk during a night of drinking and driving. As the young womenAn Trinh, 21, and Michelle Dartley, 20lay dying in the street, Smith, with Hoya teammate Ben Gillery in the passenger seat, headed for the expressway. According to testimony at Smith’s trial, when his van was pulled over later that evening with a smashed grill and windshield, his first words to the cops were: “What did you pull us over for? We didn’t hit anybody.” The defense argued that Smith, who was playing for the Celtics at the time of the killings, drove away because he didn’t know he’d been in an accident. The jury didn’t believe that, and despite Thompson’s character reference, Smith was convicted of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident, and was sentenced to 4-and-a-half years in jail. Gillery was not charged.
David Wingate: In June 1990, Wingate was charged with rape after an incident involving an unconscious 22-year-old woman in his apartment in San Antonio. The charges were dropped after Wingate settled a civil suit with the alleged victim. In February 1991, Wingate beat another rape rap when the father of a 17-year-old who’d alleged she’d been assaulted after passing out in Wingate’s apartment in Columbia, Md., took the witness stand to say he didn’t want his daughter to endure the stress of testifying, so charges were ruled “inactive,” according to the Washington Times. In April 1992, Wingate was charged with assault after his ex-fiancée and mother of his child accused him of beating her because she would not commit to staying away from him. Charges were dropped.Dave McKenna