Open Thread: Who are your top 10 players in Michigan history?

Dylan Burkhardt

The Sporting News released its list of top 10 players in Michigan basketball history with Cazzie Russell leading the pack.

  1. Cazzie Russell
  2. Glen Rice
  3. Rudy Tomjanovich
  4. Chris Webber
  5. Trey Burke
  6. Bill Buntin
  7. Jalen Rose
  8. Gary Grant
  9. Rickey Green
  10. Juwan Howard

As the basketball season is still a couple months away, we figured it would be a good time to publish an open thread and start the discussion: how would you rank your list of the top 10 players Michigan basketball history?

Is Cazzie Russell the rightful No. 1? Is Trey Burke, the most recent player on the list, rated appropriately? How should the Fab Five be ranked? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Another question… should anyone else post-Fab five have made the cut?

    • Matt Williams

      I think Nik Stauskas probably deserves to slide in at #10. I also think Webber should be #1 or #2 at the lowest.

    • section13row15

      That’s a tough one because there was such a significant drop off in results after Fisher left (until Beilein’s last few years) and even the good players post fab 5 under Fisher only lasted a year or two it seemed (Traylor and Crawford come to mind although Crawford played for Ellerbe). I think Lou Bullock deserves a mention for his 3pt shooting alone along with Maurice Taylor who played 3 years at U-M averaging 12 and 5, 14 and 7, and 12 and 6 during his career here (B10 Freshman of the year and 2nd team all big 10 his soph year). I love Manny Harris and think he deserves a mention but top 10, I don’t think so. Also, technically Taylor and Bullock never scored a career point at Michigan due to the sanctions. Blanchard, Horton, and Bernard Robinson Jr. also come to mind but top 10 is a big stretch for any of those names.

    • A2MIKE

      I would be curious what are the top 10 most efficient players via Kenpom or another advanced metric site. I know they don’t go back that far, but it would be interesting both over a career and individual seasons.

      • That would be a fun offseason activity. Run all of the old box scores (I assume they have them at Bentley or something) and come up with tempo free stats throughout Michigan history.

  • mmmmFAZpizza

    I respect the list, but can only speak to 1988+.

    And if you ignore their extremely small sample size, I would have to include Jamal Crawford and Mitch McGary.

    Here is my 1988+ list:
    1. Chris Webber
    2. Glen Rice
    3. Trey Burke
    4. Jalen Rose
    5. Jamal Crawford
    6. Mitch McGary
    7. Juwan Howard

  • 1. Glen Rice
    2. Cazzie Russell
    3. Trey Burke
    4. Jalen Rose / Juwan Howard
    5. Jalen Rose / Juwan Howard
    6. Rudy Tomjanovich
    7. Bill Buntin
    8. Campy Russell
    9. Gary Grant
    10. Roy Tarpley

    • I’m mad at myself, I forgot Phil Hubbard. I don’t even know how that is possible. Phil bumps in at 7, everybody bumps down one. Sorry Roy, you gone.

  • John

    In my lifetime(or as long as my memory will allow), and not looking at any other lists just because, I would say:
    1. Trey Burke
    2. Glen Rice
    3. Chris Webber
    4. Jalen Rose
    5. Nik Stauskus
    6. Juwan Howard
    7. Rumuel(sp?) Robinson
    8. Tim Hardaway Jr.
    9. Darius Morris
    10. Jordan Morgan/Zach Novak tie
    (Mitch McGary not eligible due to extremely limited sample size. Note – when Morgan was bad he was bad, when he was right, he was one of the best big men in the conference).
    Honorable Mention – Robert Traylor, Louis Bullock, Daniel Horton, Jimmy King.

  • Champswest

    1. Russell
    2. Rice
    3. Tomjanovich
    4. Buntin
    5. Hubbard
    6. Tarpley
    7. Burke
    8. Rose
    9. Grant
    10. Green

    I have played around with my list over the years and the order keeps changing. The first 6 are pretty easy for me, but the last four could be in just about any order. Still, a lot of great players don’t crack the top ten.

    • EAH

      Glad to see someone putting the late Roy Tarpley up where he should be. He seems to have been overlooked on many of these lists but he was a dominant player, incredibly talented, and the leader of the Big 10 champs in 1986.

  • Chezaroo

    That’s a solid list I’ll admit. It would be way to difficult for me to leave out Campy Russell, Phil Hubbard and Mike McGee though. Campy was arguably the greatest individual talent to play at Michigan, he left early though. McGee is second all time scorer (20 less games) to Rice, without the aid of the three point shot, and Hubbard was a magnificent talent derailed by injury. I’d probably remove Howard, Burke, and Rose for those three.

  • Indiana_Matt


    1. Webber
    2. Rice
    3. Howard
    4. Grant
    5. Rose
    6. Burke
    7. Traylor
    8. Blanchard
    9. Vaught
    10. Bullock

    • Danny

      Good call on Louis bullock he was a great scorer. I would have him in my 10 too

  • A2MIKE

    1. Cazzie (Crisler is after all, the house that Cazzie built)
    2. Glen Rice – NCAA Tournament MOP for program’s only national title and set a scoring record that will never be broken while doing it.
    3. Trey Burke – Won just about every player of the year trophy in his sophmore season, hit the most iconic shot in nearly a decade of the tournament, and won a B1G Championship and Final Four.

    Huge drop off in terms of significant player and team achievements

    4. Phil Hubbard – in the top 10 of nearly every “all-time” statistical category at Michigan
    5. Rudy T – transcendent player that averaged something ridiculous in ppg/reb.
    6. Bill Buntin – first real star of the program

    Huge drop off again

    7. Gary Grant – B1G POY
    8. Roy Tarpley – B1G POY
    9. Nik Stauskas – B1G POY
    10. Campy Russell – would have won B1G POY if there had been an award during those years.

    IMO, guys like the Fab 5’ers, Rickey Green, etc don’t make the cut for lack of both personal accomplishment and team accomplishment. Sure, Webber, Rose and Howard were more talented than almost everyone on the list, but they never put it all together the way the other guys on the list did so over a career or even one season.

    • andygoblue

      I think your bias betrays you re: Fab Five, which went to the National Championship game twice – a feat no other player on your list can claim. Also, Webber was a consensus 1st team All-American and Wooden and Naismith Award finalist. Were it not for Calbert Cheaney being a senior, Webber probably would’ve won the BTPOY award, too. To say you’re keeping them out b/c they didn’t accomplish enough is disingenuous, at best.

      • rmg83

        Not to mention Ricky Green was the point guard of the 1976 team that played for the National Championship and also played in the NBA for a number of years.

        • A2MIKE

          respectfully disagree. Green was a great player, but we are talking about the best of the great players. Michigan has had a lot of great players and has as much history and tradition as any program in the Big Ten, except Indiana. To me just being an all-American doesn’t put you on this list. The stats are all really impressive and compare very similarly to all the other candidates. What separates the best from everyone is team and personal accomplishments.
          Yes, Webber was a great player, but he was the 3rd best player in the Big Ten behind Cheaney and Glenn Robinson as a sophomore and clearly behind Jim Jackson as a freshman as well as Cheaney and Robinson. I love the fab five. They are why I love Michigan more than any other player (football or basketball). However, when compared against history, they didn’t win. 0 B1G’s and O NC’s. 0 POY’s. You can tell me they were fun to watch, I agree. You can tell me they revolutionized basketball, I agree, but unfortunately they are not on the list of the 10 greatest players in Michigan history, unless you are looking at what happened beyond their career at Michigan and pure talent in terms of basketball skill. And the truth of the matter is that if he had come back for a Junior year, we might be having a completely different conversation. But what ifs only go so far.

          • Guest

            lol, pound for pound, C-Webb is the most talented and best player. He was one of the most dominant player on the court. There is a reason why he got picked #1 overall. To leave him off the list is idiotic yet you kept Trey Burke and Nik who aren’t nearly as good as C-Webb.

          • A2MIKE

            I am not arguing that. If we are talking about the most talented player ever to come through Michigan, Webber wins in a landslide. However, if we are talking actual accomplishments, both personal and team, then Webber pales in comparison. He was a 1 time All-American with 2 Final Four’s. Everyone on my list has POY’s and B1G’s or Final Fours and most have all 3 as well as All-American status. Trey and Nik get sold way short in my opinion as to their accomplishments here. I am not trying to tell you they are a better player than Webber, just that in the end before the sanctions Webber and the Fab Five really didn’t accomplish a whole lot. Think about it, 0 National Championships, 0 Big Ten Titles, 0 Big Ten Players of the Year, 0 National Players of the Year. Were they talented? Absolutely! Did the talent translate to dominance on the court? At times it did, and at other times they were too young and severely overmatched. I would have loved to have seen them play one more year together as Juniors, and as I mentioned above, the conversation is a lot different. I based my list on actual accomplishments, and at the end of the day, Webber and the crew have a lot less than everyone else.

          • MAZS

            You look at my list and you can see that I only put one player from the Fab Five in my Top Ten. That said, they were Michigan’s most talented team–and only Cazzie and Buntin accomplished what they did (two Final Four appearances). So I simply don’t understand your claim that they accomplished “a lot less than everyone else”. Rudy T, for example, won nothing–and one could argue his stats were padded by a high scoring/much missing period of basketball. And still, I put Rudy 7th.

      • A2MIKE

        also the 2 NC appearances are nice, but Cazzie and Campy went to 2 Final Fours (not quite the same but definitely in the same boat) and I would rather win 1, than lose twice (ala Rice).

        • Campy never played in a final four. Marquette took us out of the Regional Final 72 -70. You can trust me on this one. It almost killed me. That 74 team is my favorite of all time ….. any sport. The 73 team wasn’t very good.

  • David O’Neill

    In no particular order:

    *Manny Fresh

    Oh wait, I thought we were just naming our favorite players :)

  • MAZS

    I’ll play. Purely based on their time at Michigan–post 1960.

    Cazzie, Rice, Hubbard, Webber, Burke, Campy, Rudy T, Buntin, Grant and a tie for tenth between Green and Nik.

    High Honorable Mention to: Rose, Howard, Tarpley, Henry Wilmore–and just because I can and want to–Mitch.

  • Mattski

    Think you have to establish ground rules–if it’s based purely on their play for Michigan, Trey may belong so high. But if it’s a question of their value as basketballers, over the course of their careers. . .

  • bobohle

    I seen all 10 play. Hard to argue with the list. Although Roy Tarpley and Campy Russell deserve some mention.

    • Wayman Britt

      bobohle- since you seen them all play, who would you say is better, I know it’s super close, Gary Grant or Rickey Green? If I was starting a team I would take Rickey, nobody has ever been faster.

      • bobohle

        Rickey Green. Those wars with IU were something else. Wayman you were pretty good yourself. By the way I enjoyed the video of your golf outing.

        • bobohle

          Oh by the way that injury to the General his Senior year was a killer.

      • I took Gary Grant over Ricky Green mostly only because he played 4 years to Ricky Green’s 2. But having watched them both play, it is undeniable that Ricky Green with that weird, all legs, no torso body of his had quickness and speed that you probably have to go all the way to Tiny Archibald to match.

  • Corperryale

    With an exception made for the great Cazzie R, my list will be limited to those who I watched firsthand and as such will exclude players from the pre-three-point, pre-dunk, pre-through-the-legs-dribble era who, as far as I am concerned, played a different sport from the one I love (no offence). Also, I will try to balance stats with overall clutchness, swag, and leadership in big games. Four year team membership not required or even desired.

    2. GLEN RICE

    • Corperryale

      Sorry, no. 6 should read “Alfonso.” Also, number eleven would be Manny Harris (duh).

      • Corperryale

        For the record, I tend to side with the moderns in these “ancients vs moderns” debates. Like, whenever I see a list of the top ten comedies of all time and it’s all Buster Keaton snoozefests, I am like “Where the heck is DUMB AND DUMBER? What about STEP BROTHERS?” Except when it comes to music. I will take Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley any day over the garbage the kids like today.

        • MAZS

          Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley. Most people on this site weren’t born when Holly died. I trust there is a Time Warner compilation cd that will meet your nostalgic whims. :-)

          • bobohle

            I was alive when Buddy Holly died.

          • MAZS

            The operative word was “most”. [I’ll stand by that assertion]

          • bobohle

            I know. Just adding a little humor is all.

  • Guest

    Any list without C-Webb on it are wrong. C-Webb was phenomenal at Michigan and gained every awards possible while leading the Fab 5 to National title twice.

    • MAZS

      and he’s on the list…

      • Guest

        Talking about the comment section in which they blantantly disregard C-Webb’s name out of the list.

        • I left him off. He embarrassed the University and destroyed Michigan Basketball for the better part of a decade which is inexcusable to my way of thinking. He was a great athlete and basketball player, but is a poor excuse for a man and nothing in the way of a Michigan Man. I feel badly for the rest of the Fabs, but find it interesting that Jalen of late is coming around to my point of view.

          • MAZS

            The Jalen-Chris saga is a tad more complicated than that–and one that may not be as one-sided as you suggest.

          • Guest

            That has nothing to do with the list which is about their on court achievement

  • JJ3ball

    Okay I’ll play. Off the top of my head and in no particular order
    Rudy T
    Glen Rice
    Ricky Green
    Phil Hubbard
    Gary Grant
    Jamal Crawford
    Trey Burke
    Roy Tarpley

  • PeteM

    It’s hard to compare players (or remember them accurately) from different eras but Webber is the player I’ve ever seen. He had a size and strength of a Graham Brown (odd comparison I know) with incredible scoring ability inside. He could also handle the ball. That said, I never saw Cazzie play so he may have been better and I can’t compare. Here’s my list (mid-70s on so Cazzie, Buntin, Rudy are not included):

    1. Webber
    2. Trey
    3. Ricky Green
    4. Jalen
    5. Rice
    6. Grant
    7. Juwan
    8. Hardaway
    9. Hubbard
    10. Vaught

    Honorble mention — Daniel Horton/Jamal Crawford both of whom made some tough years more entertaining.

  • bacon141

    Born in 89, so I can only go by players I’ve seen in my life or multiple games of through ESPN Classic, BTN and Youtube. So that really just limits it to the 89 title team to present.

    1. Webber
    2. Rice
    3. Burke
    4. Rose
    5. Howard
    6. Blanchard
    7. Mills
    8. Crawford
    9. Vaught
    10. King

    • Indiana_Matt

      Blanchard is underrated in my opinion.

  • Terrance Taylor

    I gotta go with my native detroiters
    1. Chris Webber
    2. Jalen Rose
    3. Glen Rice
    4. Trey Burke
    5. Nik Stauskas
    6. “Sweet Lou” Bullock (which I patterned my j)
    7. Jamal Crawford
    8. Mo Taylor
    9. Mitch McGary
    10. Manny Harris

    Manny had so much potential & skill,it’s kind of strange how he didn’t sustain a NBA
    Carrier. Same goes for “Peedy”. Guess it’s just the nature of the business,oh well.

    • Indiana_Matt


  • Corperryale

    Not enough love for the late, great Robert “Tractor” Traylor on these lists. Guy was a load down low with some of the softest hands in the game. He was a unique player and great to watch.

  • Bigrange

    I think Lavell Blanchard needs to be on the list. He played during a rough stretch of Michigan basketball but produced every year.

    • Indiana_Matt

      I put him on my list. He was an all-B1G section of some sort all 4 years.

  • Fab 5 Legends

    Glen Rice & Rumeal Robinson were deadly combination…CWEBB was the most gifted – if it wasnt for him the Fab 5 would not be the same…Trey Burke is my all time favorite Michigan – his height and determination was unreal – and since he brough Michigan recent success lol

  • A2JD

    I started watching Michigan regularly around 1983, so I can rank my top 10 in that context:
    1. Glen Rice
    1a. Chris Webber (this is a toss-up)
    3. Trey Burke
    4. Gary Grant
    5. Jalen Rose
    6. Roy Tarpley
    7. Rumeal Robinson
    8. Juwan Howard
    9. Loy Vaught
    10. Terry Mills/Nik Stauskas

    Honorable Mention: TH Jr., Mitch, Joubert, Jimmy King, Traylor, Taylor, Bullock, RayJack, & Zack Novak, for all he brought. Crawford would be top-10 if he’d played more than half a season. Thanks, NCAA.

  • Kevin Gilbert

    How do so many of these lists leave off Jamal Crawford?! I was a student when Crawford was a Freshman, and until the NCAA ran him out of college basketball with TWO suspensions that would ultimately (too late) be unfounded, he was tearing apart every defense that went up against him. Had he finished the season he most likely would’ve stayed for at least another year and would be a no brainer for these lists. Arguably one of the best Michigan NBA careers besides of course for C. Webb and Glen Rice. Before Crawford’s year was cut way too short, Michigan had the highest scoring average in the country as a team.

  • jihadist john™

    like most, i never saw cazzie play, but IMO, you have to put rice on top of the mountain…he was more responsible than anybody else (on a team with EIGHT pros) for the one banner at crisler which is more important than the rest combined…you have to give the nod to the leader of the team which gave us the ultimate magic carpet ride and payoff…i also have an issue with gary grant not being consensus top 5 and tarpley being excluded at all…that ’84-85 team would whoop any other UM team in a best-of-7…they more than earned their #1 seed and it still bothers me to this day that they had to be the second round opponent of that massimino villanova squad which went three weeks without missing a shot (just like glen rice)