The Top 10 All-Time Basketball Players in the History of the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan has a rich basketball tradition, producing some of the most talented and successful players in the history of the sport. Over the years, the Wolverines have boasted a plethora of exceptional athletes who have not only excelled at the collegiate level but also made a significant impact in the NBA. In this article, we will delve into the profiles and achievements of ten outstanding players from the University of Michigan, highlighting their contributions both in college and in their professional careers.

  1. Cazzie Russell: Years Played: 1963-1966 Position: Guard/Forward

Cazzie Russell is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in Michigan basketball history. During his tenure at Michigan, Russell led the Wolverines to three consecutive Big Ten titles and played a pivotal role in guiding the team to the 1965 Final Four. He is the all-time leading scorer in Michigan history with 2,163 points, averaging an impressive 27.1 points per game. Russell’s remarkable collegiate career paved the way for his successful NBA stint, where he played for the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

  1. Glen Rice: Years Played: 1985-1989 Position: Forward

Glen Rice had an illustrious career at Michigan, helping the Wolverines capture the 1989 NCAA Championship. Rice’s scoring ability was unparalleled, as evidenced by his 2,442 total points, making him the second-leading scorer in Michigan history. He averaged 19.3 points per game and displayed exceptional shooting prowess, setting the NCAA Tournament record for most points in a single tournament with 184. In the NBA, Rice enjoyed a productive career, earning three NBA All-Star selections and winning the 2000 NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.

  1. Chris Webber: Years Played: 1991-1993 Position: Forward/Center

Chris Webber was a dominant force during his two-year stint at Michigan. He played a crucial role in the Wolverines’ back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances in 1992 and 1993. Webber’s versatile skill set, including his exceptional passing ability, helped redefine the power forward position. He averaged 15.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game during his college career. Webber’s success continued in the NBA, where he earned five NBA All-Star selections and had a notable career with teams like the Sacramento Kings and the Detroit Pistons.

  1. Rudy Tomjanovich: Years Played: 1967-1970 Position: Forward

Rudy Tomjanovich was a key player for the Wolverines during his college years. Known for his smooth shooting stroke, he contributed significantly to Michigan’s success in the late 1960s. Tomjanovich averaged 25.1 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in his senior season. He went on to have a remarkable coaching career in the NBA, guiding the Houston Rockets to two NBA Championships in the 1990s.

  1. Juwan Howard: Years Played: 1991-1994 Position: Forward/Center

Juwan Howard played an integral part in the famed “Fab Five” era at Michigan. During his tenure, the Wolverines reached the NCAA Championship game twice. Howard’s versatility and leadership qualities made him an essential component of the team’s success. He averaged 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in his college career. Following his playing days, Howard transitioned into coaching and became the head coach of the University of Michigan basketball team, continuing the legacy of excellence.

  1. Trey Burke: Years Played: 2011-2013 Position: Guard

Trey Burke made an immediate impact for the Wolverines, earning the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award in his debut season. Burke’s exceptional ball-handling skills, court vision, and scoring ability propelled Michigan to the 2013 NCAA Championship game. He averaged 16.9 points and 5.7 assists per game during his college career. In the NBA, Burke has had a solid professional career, playing for multiple teams and contributing as a valuable point guard off the bench.

  1. Jalen Rose: Years Played: 1991-1994 Position: Guard

Jalen Rose was a vital member of the “Fab Five” and played a significant role in Michigan’s success during the early 1990s. His scoring ability and versatility as a guard were instrumental in reaching two consecutive NCAA Championship games. Rose averaged 17.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game during his college career. In the NBA, Rose enjoyed a successful career, playing for several teams and earning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2000.

  1. Rickey Green: Years Played: 1974-1977 Position: Guard

Rickey Green was a standout guard for the Wolverines, known for his quickness and exceptional playmaking ability. Green played a key role in Michigan’s 1976 Big Ten Championship team and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. He averaged 16.2 points and 4.4 assists per game during his college career. Green went on to have a lengthy NBA career, known for his tenacious defense and leadership skills.

  1. Terry Mills: Years Played: 1986-1990 Position: Forward

Terry Mills was a dominant force in the Wolverines’ frontcourt during his college career. He played a crucial role in Michigan’s 1989 NCAA Championship run, earning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. Mills averaged 13.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his college tenure. In the NBA, Mills enjoyed a productive career, playing for various teams and showcasing his shooting touch from beyond the arc.

  1. Cazzie Banks: Years Played: 1978-1982 Position: Guard

Cazzie Banks was a skilled guard who left an indelible mark on the University of Michigan basketball program. Banks displayed consistent scoring ability throughout his college career, averaging 17.7 points per game. He provided leadership and stability to the Wolverines during his tenure. Although Banks did not have an extended NBA career, his contributions to Michigan basketball are revered to this day.

The University of Michigan has produced a remarkable array of basketball talent throughout its storied history. From Cazzie Russell and Glen Rice to Chris Webber and Juwan Howard, the Wolverines have showcased players who have excelled both at the collegiate level and in the NBA. These ten players represent the epitome of excellence, leaving an enduring legacy within the realm of college basketball and beyond. Their contributions have forever etched the University of Michigan’s name in basketball lore and serve as a testament to the school’s dedication to producing top-tier athletes.

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