Benoit against Indiana
David Benoit
Position: Small Forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 220
Hometown: Lafeyette, Louisiana
Birthdate: May 9, 1968

David Benoit was by no means a superstar on the basketball court, but that doesn't make his story any less interesting.

Benoit experienced basketball's highs and lows, from winning league championships to suffering season-ending injuries. His worldly career saw him play in several different pro leagues on three different continents, highlighted by nearly 500 games played in the National Basketball Association.

In June 2007, Benoit's playing career officially came to a close when he was named coach of the Saitama Broncos of the JB-League in Japan.

Now as he begins walking a new path on his hoops journey, here is a look at David Benoit's 20 years playing top-level hoops.

Benoit began playing college basketball in fall 1986, suiting up for Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. He spent the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons with the Apaches, and averaged 19.7 points and 13.7 rebounds over the two years. In 1987-88, Benoit was chosen as the Texas Eastern Conference Player Of The Year, and was named to the Junior College All-American Third Team.

Benoit made the jump from junior college to NCAA division-one basketball, playing for the University of Alabama in his junior and senior years (1988-89 and 1989-90). He helped the Crimson Tide to consecutive SEC Tournament championships and berths in the NCAA Tournament, including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 1990. Over two seasons with the Tide, Benoit played a total of 66 games, averaging 10.6 points and 7.0 rebounds. Benoit received several honors while playing at Alabama, including selections to the 1990 UPI All-SEC Third Team and the 1990 All-SEC Tournament First Team.

Despite his college success, David Benoit went unselected in the 1990 NBA Entry Draft. The Cedar Rapids Silver Bullets of the Continental Basketball Association made Benoit the second overall pick in the 1990 CBA Entry Draft, but Benoit had his sights set elsewhere. After brief stints in NBA summer camps with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers, he headed overseas, and played the 1990-91 season in Malaga, Spain, with the Mayoral Marists of the ACB (Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto). Benoit had a great year in Spain where he averaged 22.0 points and 10.3 rebounds and was named the ACB Rookie of the Year.

Benoit returned to the United States fresh off his season in Spain, and was given a spot on the Utah Jazz's entry in the 1991 Rocky Mountain Revue summer league. Benoit was impressive in summer league play, and on August 7, the Jazz signed Benoit to his first NBA contract. Benoit get off on a solid start to his NBA career in the 1991-92 season, averaging 5.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 77 games played. Benoit also shot .810 (81/100) free-throws, setting the Jazz franchise record for highest free-throw percentage by a rookie. On April 13th, Benoit recorded the first double-double of his NBA career, posting 15 points (including a perfect 7/7 shooting from the field) and 11 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors. Benoit's role with the team increased in the post-season, as he started in 9 playoff games, and helped the Jazz reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Impressed with what they saw from him as a rookie, the Jazz re-signed David Benoit to a multi-year contract on September 22, 1992. Benoit did not disappoint, and picked up the 1992-93 season right where he left off, improving his averages to 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds, while finishing second on the Jazz in 3-pointers made and playing in all 82 games. Benoit also had several highlights throughout the season: On November 7th, he attempted an amazing total of 18 free-throws in just 25 minutes, part of a 19 point, 14 rebound performance against the Dallas Mavericks. On February 20th, Benoit participated in the NBA Slam Dunk Championship at the 1993 NBA All-Star Weekend, where he entertained the hometown Jazz fans and placed a respectable fourth in the event. However, Benoit was most strong late in the season, where he started in the Jazz's final 23 games, and averaged 12.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in the month of April, which included a career-high 23 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 4th.

Unfortunately, Benoit's success of the previous year did not carry over into the 1993-94 season. Hampered by a hamstring injury that limited him to 55 games, Benoit managed to average 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds, but shot a disappointing 38.5% from the field. His best game of the season came against Phoenix on February 25th, scoring a season-high 18 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Benoit also had a memorable performance on March 21st, when he grabbed 17 rebounds, an NBA career best, against the Atlanta Hawks.

After spending the off-season facing trade rumors, Benoit came out and had the finest season of his career in 1994-95. As an integral part of the Jazz's franchise-record 60 win season, he posted career highs in points (10.4 ppg), rebounds (5.2 rpg), and field-goal percentage (48.6%), while starting all but 4 of the 71 games he saw action in. Benoit scored in double-figures 36 times, and recorded a career-high 24 points at San Antonio on February 14th. Though the Jazz would be upset by Houston in the first-round of the playoffs, Benoit had a strong post-season, averaging 11.8 points (including a playoff career-high 20 points on May 5th) and leading the Jazz in 3-pointers made.

Benoit struggled early in the 1995-96 season, but improved as the year went on, and wound up playing in 81 games, starting 63. He averaged 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds, while continuing to show progress in his game by posting career bests in 3-pointers made (64), and assists (82). He equaled his career-high of 24 points, against Dallas on February 8th, with a fantastic performance that saw Benoit make 5 of 6 3-point field goal attempts. A knee injury early in the post-season kept Benoit from playing a major role on a Jazz team that came within 1 game of the NBA Finals, but he still managed to shoot a blistering 50.0% (14/28) 3-pointers for the playoffs.

Benoit became a free agent after the season, and decided to seek work outside of Utah. Taking a gamble, Benoit signed with the New Jersey Nets to a 1-year contract worth just over half a million dollars. Though he could have signed far more attractive deals elsewhere, Benoit wanted go to a team where he felt he could get ample playing time and opportunities. Unfortunately for Benoit, he ruptured his right Achilles tendon in the Nets training camp, and missed the entire 1996-97 season due to the injury.

Despite never having played a game for the Nets, David Benoit re-signed with New Jersey to a 1-year deal in the summer of 1997. His stint with the team, however, would prove to be short-lived. On February 19th, just prior to the NBA trading deadline, the Nets traded Benoit, Yinka Dare and Kevin Edwards to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Brian Evans, Rony Seikaly and a draft-pick. Benoit filled a reserve role for both the Nets and Magic, and, as a result, he finished the season with a career-low average of 5.5 points, and shot a career-low 37.3% from the field. His best game of the season came with Orlando on March 20th, recording 19 points and 8 rebounds to lead the Magic to a win over Portland.

During late June of 1998, the NBA owners imposed a lockout of the players, which would last until January 1999. As a free agent at the time, David Benoit was able to look elsewhere to play basketball, and joined Maccabi Tel-Aviv, an Israeli basketball club. He had a season of ups and downs with Maccabi, averaging 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in the regular season, and helping the team capture the 1999 Israel Championship.

Following his season in Europe, Benoit took a year off from playing pro basketball and trained for a return to the NBA. In July 2000, his comeback attempt began in the very same place his NBA career had started 9 years earlier: as a member of the Utah Jazz's entry in the Rocky Mountain Revue. Benoit battled through the summer league, the Jazz's training camp and pre-season schedule, and ultimately was named to the team. Although the 2000-01 season would see Benoit post career-lows in nearly every statistical category, it proved to be a huge accomplishment that he was able to last the whole season with the Jazz. He even managed to earn a consistent role deep off the bench, and had a season-best performance on March 9th against Phoenix, when he scored 18 points.

David Benoit returned to the Jazz in the fall of 2001 and had a brief stint in their pre-season training camp, before being released. In March 2002, he signed with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Playing in the CBA playoffs, Benoit teamed with future NBA megastar Yao Ming to lead the Sharks to their first-ever CBA Championship.

David Benoit spent the 2002-03 season playing in Tokyo, Japan with the Hitachi Sunrockers of the JBL Super League. Benoit was one of the more dominant players in the Super League, finishing third in the league in points (23.9 ppg), rebounds (12.9 rpg) and blocks (1.57 bpg).

For the 2003-04 season, David Benoit returned to Japan to once again play with the Sunrockers, and continued to be one of the top competitors in the JBL Super League. He finished fifth in the league in scoring (23.5 ppg), seventh in rebounding (10.3 rpg) and second in blocks (1.43 bpg).

During the 2004-05 campaign, Benoit had difficulty finding a regular playing position. On December 4th, 2004, he signed with the Utah Snowbears of the American Basketball Association, but his stint with the team lasted just over 3 weeks, and he was released on December 27th. In early January 2005, he had a tryout with the Roseto Sharks of the Italian A League, but he did not sign a permanent contract with the team.

Benoit returned to Japan for 2005-06, this time to play with the Saitama Broncos of the newly formed BJ-League. He was haunted by an old injury, however, and had his season end after just 10 games when he tore his Achilles tendon. Benoit was averaging 26.8 points and 198 rebounds before he got hurt. He spent the last part of the season serving as an assistant coach.

After spending nearly a full year rehabbing, Benoit returned to the court for the Broncos in November 2006 and played the remainder of the season. 1