Feb. 11, 2011
Milt Palacio was a basketball player for CSU, but not just any basketball player. At 6 feet, 3 inches and 190 pounds, he was a stellar point guard for Head Coach Stu Morrill's teams that won 59 games and lost 27 during the 1996-97, 97-98, and 98-99 seasons. In 1999, Colorado State won 19 games with a team returning only two seniors and one starter. Behind the play of seniors Milt Palacio and Andre McKanstry, the Rams advanced to the final eight of the NIT. Despite playing only three years at CSU, Milt is listed in the basketball media guide as first in career steals in CSU history, second in career assists, and 13th in career scoring. He was selected first-team All-WAC in 1998 and 1999, and was chosen best defensive player on the team in 1998 as well as team MVP in 1999. Milt Palacio was one of the stellar basketball players in CSU history.
Prior to enrolling at CSU, Palacio played at Serra High School in Gardena, California, and then one year for Midland College. While at Serra he was named league MVP in both his junior and senior years, was named to all-city teams as a senior, and was also named the conference player of the year his senior year.
Milt was born in Los Angeles, Calif., but his parents are Belize nationals, so he was eligible to play on the Belize national team. He was chosen the tournament's most valuable player in 1998 after he led his country to a gold medal in the 14 Caricom Basketball Championship, which included Caribbean and Common Market countries. Milt became the "Michael Jordan" of Belize, and, thus, a national hero.
Although an undrafted rookie, Palacio saw his NBA dream come true when he signed with the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1999.That started a seven-year NBA career where he played for the Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, and the Utah Jazz.
Palacio's most notable achievement was scoring a buzzer beater for the Celtics in their shocking victory over the New York Nets on Dec. 28, 2000. With the Nets leading 111-109 and inbounding the ball with less than two seconds remaining, he stole a pass and threw up an off-balance shot from 30 feet away. Improbably, the shot swished through the net, giving the Celtics a 112-111 victory. Basketball writers dubbed Milt with the nickname "Miracle Milt" in recognition of this incredible incident.
In the 2007-08 season, Palacio began a European adventure signing with ex-European champions Partisan Belgrade from Serbia. After struggling early, he learned the European game quickly and was named the Euroleague's MVP for the month of March 2008. He later played for a Russian League club, a Greek League club (Kavala) and a Spanish League club. He returned to Kavala for the 2010-11 season, signing a one year contract.
Milt Palacio accomplished some notable feats while at CSU, not the least of which was providing fond memories of his fluid, no-nonsense style of play. The Ram Alumni Athletes Association wishes him continued success in his basketball career and in his life thereafter.
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