The Toronto Raptors lost a former player on Dec. 17 with the passing of Eric Montross.
Montross spent two seasons with Toronto in 2000-2002, the final years of his playing career. He unfortunately passed away at the age of 52 after becoming diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.
Prior to his NBA career, Montross was a player at the University of North Carolina and returned back to his college as a commentator for the UNC men’s basketball team on Tar Heel Sports Network.
UNC Basketball announced Montross’ passing:
“The family of Eric Montross (Laura, Sarah, Andrew, and Megan) is announcing that he passed away on Sunday, December 17, surrounded by loved ones at his home in Chapel Hill.”
While he played for the Raptors in his final two seasons, Montross played for five other teams in his eight years in the league: the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
He played a total of 465 regular season and 16 playoff games in the NBA, which included 61 regular season and five playoff games with the Raptors. A 7’0″ center, who was commonly known as ‘Big E,’ Montross won the NCAA title with North Carolina as a player in 1993.
He was a big part of the basketball community in college and the NBA, especially with North Carolina. That’s where he cemented his legacy by winning a national title.
Montross was diagnosed with cancer in March 2023 and received most of his treatment at the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center. The Raptors organization and many others continue to mourn the loss of Montross, but also appreciate the kind of person he was, on and off the court.
Montross’ college stats at North Carolina
Montross played a total of 139 games at UNC, starting 105 of those, as he played an average of 25.2 minutes.
Throughout his four years there, Montross averaged 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. He would of course become an NCAA champion, NCAA All-Tournament team, two-time All-ACC and two-time All-ACC Tournament team.
Montross entered the 1994 NBA Draft and was selected No. 9 by the Boston Celtics, spending the first two seasons of his career there.
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