The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time

Over 2.0K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
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Vote based only on players' time on the Michigan State roster.

Check out the best Michigan State point guards ever!
Michigan State basketball fans, we’re ranking the best Michigan State Spartans of all-time. This list of Michigan State basketball players includes current and former players, along with the seasons played with the college. Featuring All-Americans, players in the NBA, and school legends who had their jerseys retired, the top players from Michigan State University men's basketball team history include Magic Johnson, Draymond Green, Scott Skiles, and Steve Smith. Who is the best Michigan State Spartan ever?

Vote up the ones you think are the greatest MSU basketball players in Spartans history. Feel free to add any Spartan freshmen, NBA rookies, or Michigan State alumni missing from the list.

Most divisive: Joshua Langford
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  • Magic Johnson
    Point guard
    831 votes
    • Age: 64
    • Birthplace: Michigan, USA, Lansing
    • Number: 32
    • Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

    1977 - 1979

    NCAA Champion (1979)

    NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1979)

  • Steve Smith
    Shooting guard
    550 votes
    • Age: 54
    • Birthplace: Detroit, Highland Park, Michigan
    • Teams: Charlotte Bobcats, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Miami Heat

    1987 - 1991

    Steven Delano Smith (born March 31, 1969) is an American retired basketball player who is currently a basketball analyst for Turner Sports. After a collegiate career with Michigan State, he played with several teams in his 14-season National Basketball Association career, including the Miami Heat, the Portland Trail Blazers and the San Antonio Spurs, but is perhaps best known for his five-year stint with the Atlanta Hawks which included an All-Star Game appearance in 1998. He won a championship with the Spurs in 2003. Smith was widely regarded as an excellent three-point shooter, and is one of three players to make seven 3-pointers in a quarter. He joined the USA men's national basketball team in the 1994 FIBA World Championship winning the gold medal. He won another gold medal at the 1999 Tournament of the Americas and an Olympic gold medal with the USA men's national basketball team at the 2000 Summer Olympics with eleven other NBA All-Stars.
  • Draymond Green
    Power forward
    758 votes
    • Age: 33
    • Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan
    • Number: 23
    • Teams: Golden State Warriors

    2008 - 2012

    Draymond Jamal Green Sr. (born March 4, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Green, who plays primarily at the power forward position, is a three-time NBA champion, and a three-time NBA All-Star. In 2017, he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Green grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, and played college basketball for Michigan State, where he helped the Spartans earn two Final Four appearances and a Big Ten Tournament championship in 2012. Throughout his four-year college career, Green earned conference and national honors, including Big Ten Conference Sixth Man of the Year as a sophomore, and consensus All-American and NABC National Player of the Year honors as a senior. He went on to be drafted 35th overall in the 2012 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors, and later played a key role on the Warriors' 2015, 2017, and 2018 championship teams. Green, who often plays significant minutes for the Warriors as an undersized center in their Death Lineup, has been cited as one of the leaders in an emerging trend in the NBA of versatile frontcourt players capable of playing and defending multiple positions, making plays for teammates, and spacing the floor.
  • Mateen Cleaves
    Point guard, Guard
    569 votes
    • Age: 46
    • Birthplace: Michigan, USA, Flint
    • Number: 24
    • Teams: Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Seattle Supersonics, Detroit Pistons

    1996 - 2000

    NCAA Champion (2000)

    NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (2000)

  • Scott Skiles

    Scott Skiles

    Point guard
    440 votes
    • Age: 59
    • Birthplace: La Porte, Indiana
    • Teams: Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks

    1982 - 1986

    Scott Allen Skiles Sr. (born March 5, 1964) is an American basketball coach and former player. He most recently served as the head coach of the Orlando Magic. He also coached the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks. A first-round draft pick out of Michigan State University, Skiles played ten seasons as a point guard in the NBA. He holds the NBA record for assists in one game with 30, set in his fifth season in the league and second with Orlando, in which he also earned the 1990–91 NBA Most Improved Player Award.
  • Cassius Winston
    651 votes
    • Teams: Michigan State Spartans

    2016 - present

    Cassius Winston (born February 28, 1997) is an American basketball player for Michigan State University. His 182 assists were the second most ever by a freshman at MSU, trailing only Magic Johnson's 222 in 1977-78.