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Scott Skiles was Spartans star before reaching NBA; Where is he now?
Former Michigan State point guard Scott Skiles starred for the Spartans in the 1980s before making it in the NBA as a player and as a coach. (Credit: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

Scott Skiles was Spartans star before reaching NBA; Where is he now?

EAST LANSING, Mich. (BVM) — Former Michigan State point guard Scott Skiles starred for the Spartans in the 1980s. The 6-foot-1 playmaker from La Porte, Indiana has been out of basketball since 2016. Here is a look back at his career and what he’s doing now.

Making his name

Skiles made a name for himself even before landing in East Lansing. The ex-Plymouth High School star stunned the state of Indiana with his hardwood heroics. In 1982, as a high school senior he took Plymouth to the IHSAA state title in a stunning upset over Gary Roosevelt. Skiles scored 39 points including a jumper at the buzzer to force overtime. The stage was set for him at Michigan State.

He moved on to MSU in the fall semester of 1982. Skiles played four seasons for the Spartans. He averaged 18.2 points, 5.5 assists and 3 rebounds per game over the course of that time. What’s more, Skiles topped the conference in points (850) and assists (203) his senior year. He would also lead the Big Ten in free throws that season.

Plus he added a number of awards, including 1985-86 first-team All-Big Ten, 1985-86 Big Ten Player of the Year, 1985-86 Consensus All-America second team, and 1986 NCAA Tournament All-Region. MSU advanced as far as the NCAA Tournament’s regional semifinal in 1986.

To the NBA

The lead guard did all he could in college, then the NBA came calling. In June of 1986, he was picked 22nd overall by Milwaukee in the first round of the NBA Draft. A year later, the Bucks dealt him to Indiana for a second-round draft pick.

In June of 1989, he was taken by the Orlando Magic in the league’s expansion draft. His career would take a leap forward in Orlando. Skiles earned the 1990-91 Most Improved Player award for his efforts. To add, Skiles posted the NBA record for most assists in a game (30) that season. He stayed with Orlando until the summer of 1994.

At that point, Skiles got shipped to the Washington Bullets. He started 62 games for them the following season then was released. In December of 1995, Skiles signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia 76ers. Less than a month following that, he retired from the NBA.

Coaching career

Soon after leaving the NBA, he arrived in Greece to play for PAOK BC. When a shoulder injury ended his playing career, fate intervened. Skiles was presented with an opportunity to coach the club, and he accepted. That would kick start his second act — as NBA head coach.

Skiles joined the Phoenix Suns as an assistant coach in 1997. He remained in that role until 1999, then was promoted to head coach. He stepped down from that position in 2002. He assumed control of the Chicago Bulls team in 2003 and stuck with them until 2008. From there, Skiles took charge of the Milwaukee Bucks and coached them until 2013.

A brief stop in Orlando from 2015-16 would end his coaching career. Greek squad Olympiacos BC reached out to him in 2019 regarding a head coaching job but apparently, he wasn’t interested.

Since then, Skiles has kept a low profile. It can be said he’s currently semi-retired. It’s been reported he is available for speaking engagements, however. No doubt he’s got a lot to talk about.