South Dakota: Mike Miller
Mike Miller is the quintessential role player on a good team. Silky from beyond the arc, and also possessing the skill to get his shot whenever he wants, Miller was a very serviceable NBA player for a long time. He captured the 2001 Rookie of the Year award, and followed up that accomplishment with the Sixth Man of the Year trophy five years later. Miller grew up in the small town of Mitchell, South Dakota. He then proceeded to attend the University of Florida under head coach Billy Donovan. Talk about a culture shock.
Image Source: Denver Stiffs
Delaware: Walt Hazzard
One wouldn’t normally connect Hazzard to Delaware, considering he spent his collegiate career and the start of his NBA career on the West Coast. Hazzard played his college ball at UCLA (and later coached there), and was later drafted to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1964 NBA Draft. While he had minimal success as a pro in Los Angeles, Hazzard was moved to the Seattle Sonics where he enjoyed his best season in the league. On a mediocre Sonics team, Hazzard averaged 24 points, 6.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds and made his lone All-Star appearance.
Image Source: Lakers.com
Montana: Phil Jackson
The state of Montana isn’t a natural hotbed for NBA talent. Bar none, the most famous basketball figure emanating from the state is Phil Jackson. ‘The Zen Master’ was born in Deer Lodge, Montana, and grew up in a remote portion of the state. Eventually, Jackson developed into a role player in the NBA. His claim to fame is that he is arguably the greatest head coach in NBA history. Jackson won 11 titles whilst leading both the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Image Source: NBA Sports