July 12, 1972 |
|Listed height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Listed weight||182 lb (83 kg)|
|High school||Springfield Central
|College||Georgia Tech (1991–1995)|
|NBA draft||1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 23rd overall|
|Selected by the Indiana Pacers|
|Number||4, 6, 1, 3|
|2004–2005||New Jersey Nets|
|2007||Asseco Prokom Gdynia|
|2007–2008||La Fortezza Bologna|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||5,736 (7.6 ppg)|
|Rebounds||1,249 (1.8 rpg)|
|Assists||2,444 (3.5 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
High school career
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Best attended Springfield Central High School, starring on teams that amassed a 69-4 record in his three seasons as the Lahovich Award winner, symbolic of the top player in Western Massachusetts. During his senior year, he scored a state-record 81 points in a single game. In the next, he scored 40. With then-sophomore teammate Edgar Padilla, a future UMass standout, Best led his 25-0 team to the 1991 Division I state championship and a No. 15 ranking in the final USA Today Top 25. After considering both UConn and the University of Virginia, Best chose Georgia Tech. Best participated in the 1991 McDonald's All-American Game, played in his hometown, also home to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and featuring NBA players Glenn Robinson, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Alan Henderson, Cherokee Parks and Donyell Marshall. He was also named a Parade All-American and participated in the McDonald's Capital Classic as a member of the "U.S. All-Stars" alongside Webber and Parks.
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At Georgia Tech, Best teamed with fellow McDonald's All-American James Forrest for four years as one half of a potent inside-outside combo in the always-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), helping lead the Yellow Jackets to the 1993 ACC Tournament Championship, their first since 1990. Excelling as one of the league's premier players, he was named to the All-ACC third team as a sophomore, earning second-team honors as both a junior and senior. He also led the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio and free-throw percentage as a senior, while capturing ACC Player of the Week honors a league-record five times. Over a stretch of 10 games in 1995, during which Forrest was inactive due to an ankle injury, Best picked up the slack, averaging more than 25 points per game. Upon graduation, Best ranked in the top six in Tech history in points, assists, minutes, 3-point field goals made and steals, finishing as one of only three ACC players to score 2,000 points with 600 assists (UNC's Phil Ford and Maryland's Greivis Vasquez are the other two). He also earned honorable-mention All-America honors from The Associated Press as a nominee for the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, given to the best player in the nation under 6 feet (1.8 m).
Best was drafted 23rd in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. He played for the Pacers, the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks and the New Jersey Nets, averaging 7.6 points and 3.5 assists per game.
After taking several years to adjust to the nightly competition of the NBA, Best found his niche and became a vital backup at point guard on the 1999-2000 Indiana team that went to the 2000 NBA Finals. Best hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the decisive fifth game against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. During Best's last half season with the Pacers, he was unhappy he was passed over as starting point guard (Jamaal Tinsley got the spot). During that season, he requested a trade and was granted one to the Chicago Bulls. In it, the Bulls sent Ron Artest, Brad Miller, Ron Mercer and Kevin Ollie to the Pacers for Best, Jalen Rose and Norman Richardson, as well as a future second-round pick.
Best was represented by Gary Ebert in his career as a basketball player.
- Montville, Leigh (25 March 1991). "Lingering Cheers For A Magic Child". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- Khona, Chetan (1995-11-10). "Best makes pro debut in front of familiar crowd". The Technique. Retrieved 2007-05-22.