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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Catching up with Chris Herren

It is difficult to believe it has been 17 years since Sports Illustrated pronounced on its cover that “The Big East is Back,’’ complete with a cover photo of St. John’s mega-recruit Felipe Lopez.

I was entering my last season on the St. John’s beat and envisioning, well, let’s put it this way: More than a 14-14 finish and a first-round NIT exit.

Among the other promising youths featured were Ray Allen, Allen Iverson and Chris Herren. In other words, you never know.

Frankly, I had forgotten all about Herren - who went from Fall River, Mass., to Boston College and Fresno State to the Nuggets and Celtics to assorted stops around the globe - until seeing “Unguarded,’’ premiering Tuesday on ESPN.

It chronicles years of grinding substance abuse that is shocking and depressing even by the familiar standards of self-destructive athletic stars.

Herren, 36, now counsels others to avoid his path – and tries to remain on the right path himself.

Tags: ESPN

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