Former Southern Miss forward Jonathan Mills was the victim of senseless gun violence in his hometown of Chicago on Monday afternoon. The 26-year-old was killed in the North Lawndale neighborhood where he was raised and rose to prominence on the basketball court, according to police.
Mills played two seasons for Southern Miss from 2011-2013. Despite being listed at only 6'5, Mills was one of the most ferocious rebounders in Conference-USA. The Golden Eagles reached the NCAA Tournament under coach Larry Eustachy in his first season. As a senior, Mills averaged 9.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles.
Mills was a high school standout at North Lawndale, where he helped lead his team to a state championship in 2008 and a Chicago Public League championship in 2009. He was also a staple on the Chicago Pro-Am scene in recent years.
The Southern Miss and Chicago basketball communities mourned the loss of Mills as news of his death spread on Monday:
I can't believe My guy Jonathan Mills was shot n killed today! He was the TOUGHEST kid I ever coached! I love you bro! Prayers 4 family! RIP— Donnie Tyndall (@DonnieTyndall) July 25, 2016
My lil bro/Former @USMGoldenEagles men's basketball player-Jonathan Mills has been killed crazy cold world we live in rip love yu lil bro— Sherron Collins (@SHERRONCOLLINS4) July 25, 2016
This one just hit too close, RIP JMills— Keifer Sykes HugōⓂ️ (@ksykesyb) July 25, 2016
Jonathan Mills was an incredibly tough player, one of the best rebounders I've ever covered. Had a big personality, wicked sense of humor— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) July 25, 2016
Spoke to Donnie Tyndall on the phone. "Jonathan Mills was the hardest playing, toughest kid that I've ever coached." #SouthernMiss— Jeff Haeger (@TheJeffTakeWHLT) July 25, 2016
Jon Mills came straight from prom, slept in a white tux in the airport & outplayed Derrick Favors as a 6-5 forward. pic.twitter.com/ms6gN5aklo— Scott Phillips (@phillipshoops) July 25, 2016
I once saw J Mills put up 22 points and 23 rebounds in a playoff game to go downstate. As a 6'4 Forward. He was a fighter. So much heart.— Daniel Poneman (@SwagAir) July 25, 2016