Former UNC and NBA big man Eric Montross has cancer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The family of former North Carolina and NBA big man Eric Montross says he has begun treatment for cancer.

Montross' family issued a statement through the school on Saturday announcing the 51-year-old's diagnosis, though it didn't specify the nature of the cancer.

"We are all touched by the responses our entire family has received since the news became public," the family stated. "Your support is more than appreciated; it is welcomed as a necessary part of beating cancer one day at a time. Our family is dealing with Eric's diagnosis head-on - the only way we know how. And we are all in this fight together."

Montross is a radio analyst for UNC game broadcasts and works for the Rams Club, the fundraising arm of UNC's athletic department.

Montross was a two-time Associated Press second-team All-American with the Tar Heels. He was the starting center on the late Dean Smith's second NCAA championship squad in 1993.

Montross was selected ninth overall in the 1994 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics. He also played for the Dallas Mavericks, the then-New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors during his eight-year NBA career.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.