ABOUT TRAVIS BEST

 

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-AmericanGame, 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 Parksand 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.

 

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. 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.

 

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.

Best found his niche and became a point guard for the Indiana Pacers and  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.  Best had a co-starring role in Spike Lee's 1993 classic, "He Got Game".  

 

 

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