On Nov. 21, 2008, a first-year student from Spring Valley, N.Y., made his debut as the starting point guard for the Franklin & Marshall College men’s basketball team. Georgio Milligan '12 scored 17 points that night against Penn State–Harrisburg in Mayser Gym, providing glimpses of the brilliance F&M fans would enjoy over the next four seasons. Later that season, Milligan helped the Diplomats to the 2009 NCAA Division III Final Four and received first-team all- Centennial Conference (CC) honors, a distinction he earned four straight years—a CC record.
Three years later, Milligan graduates as the all-time scoring leader in F&M men’s basketball with 1,932 points. He is also second in steals (282) and assists (628), and third in blocked shots (140). An economics major at F&M, Milligan led the Diplomats to a 103–21 record over the past four seasons, including a record three straight CC titles. The Diplomats won 11 games in the NCAA Tournament during Milligan’s four years, advancing to one Final Four, two Elite Eights and making one second-round appearance.
Milligan put an exclamation mark on his career with a 30-point, seven-assist, four-block, two-steal performance in the Diplomats’ 80–71 win over second-ranked Amherst College in the NCAA Sweet 16 on March 9 before a packed house in Mayser Gym. A two-time NABC First Team All-American and CC Player of the Year, F&M’s star guard received National Player of the Year honors from DIII News following the 2011–12 season.
Q: You helped lead the Diplomats to 103 victories in four years and won countless individual awards, including DIII News Player of the Year. What are you most proud of in your college basketball career?
A: I’m proud of how much smarter on the court I’ve become since freshman year. I didn’t play point guard in high school, so it was a big adjustment to play point guard in college.
Q: What was your most memorable game at F&M, and why?
A: The Amherst game, definitely. I wanted to play a team from that conference [the New England Small College Athletic Conference] for four years. A lot of people said we couldn’t beat a team from that conference. The atmosphere was the best, with so many students and people from the local community. Another memorable game was the DeSales game my freshman year [F&M’s 70–60 win in the 2009 NCAA Elite Eight].
Q: Why did you choose to attend F&M?
A: The academics at F&M are amazing, and that impressed my family and me a lot. And the coaches are great people who know basketball. I knew that F&M had a lot of good inside players, with Mike [Baker ’11], James [McNally ’11] and Danny [Selig ’09], but not many guards, so I could play right away.
Q: Who is the most influential person in your life, and in your basketball career?
A: My father. He played basketball and was really good, but couldn’t play anymore after he broke his femur. We communicate with each other on the court during games. Off the court, he’s taught me how to be cool and mellow. Nobody could imagine him being angry. I always keep that in mind.
Q: Donnie Marsh ’79 held the F&M men’s basketball scoring record for 32 years before your former teammate, James McNally ’11, broke it last year. What does it mean to you to hold that record?
A: I’m happy that I did it, and I talked to James after I broke his record. I’m hoping mine stays for 30 years [laughing].But I really wanted the steals record [he fell four shy of Marsh’s 286]. Defense is what separates good players from great players. You’re more valuable if you play good defense. It’s about having the total package. It feels good to score, but even better to stop someone from scoring.
Q: What was your key to balancing academics and athletics?
A: Time management. There’s a tremendous amount of work here. One of the tough parts of playing a sport is that you might have a six-page paper due and a game the same day. This past semester, I took three economics courses and it really worked my brain. You have to focus on class and then focus on the game. You have to stay on top of your schedule.
Q: What have you learned from Head Coach Glenn Robinson?
A: I’ve learned so much from Coach. When you get advice coming from Coach, you take it. He’s taught me a lot about basketball, but also helped me mature and become a better leader. I can take that part off the court.
Q: What was the toughest gym you played in as an opposing player?
A: McDaniel. We lost my first three years there. I don’t know if it’s the background [behind the basket] or the rims, but the perception is different there. There’s a cold stairwell you go through to the locker room, and you have a two-minutejog to the gym. I’m so happy we got a win there before I graduated.
Q: What is your best college memory away from the basketball court?
A: Our team trip to Europe two summers ago, to Ireland and Scotland. We saw castles and so many incredible towns and cities. I remember trying to cross the street and looking in the wrong direction. I’ll also remember hanging out at [former teammate] Sal Salvati’s ’10 house. We had so manygreat times there.
Q: Do you have plans to continue playing basketball after F&M?
A: I’m trying to play in Europe. I’m talking to three different agents now. The season doesn’t end in Europe until June or July, so I have a summer job working for the Union of Electricians Local 3 in New York until then. [Former F&M All-American] Chris Finch ’92 connected me with his agent, and I’m also getting help from a friend of the family.