Sports

The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time 

Ranker NCAA Basketball
Updated March 4, 2020 9.8k votes 1.4k voters 25.9k views 48 items

List Rules 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.

list ordered by
1
Magic Johnson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Point guard and Power forward from Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

Age: 60

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

1977 - 1979

NCAA Champion (1979)

NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1979)

More Magic Johnson 

#5 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #10 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #26 of 113 The Most Influential Contemporary Americans

2
Draymond Green is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Power forward from Saginaw, Michigan

Age: 29

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 ...more

More Draymond Green 

#120 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #57 of 320 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today #1 of 92 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today

3
Cassius Winston is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
sschmi7 added

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 ...more
4
Steve Smith is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Shooting guard from Detroit, Highland Park, Michigan

Age: 50

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 ...more

More Steve Smith 

#312 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #61 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History #14 of 32 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 90s

5
Mateen Cleaves is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Point guard and Guard from Flint, Michigan, United States of America

Age: 42

Number: 24

Teams: Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Seattle Supersonics, Detroit Pistons

1996 - 2000

NCAA Champion (2000)

NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (2000)

6
Denzel Valentine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Samurai Mike added Guard from Lansing, Michigan

Age: 26

Number: 45

Teams: Chicago Bulls

2012 - 2016

Denzel Robert Valentine (born November 16, 1993) is an American professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball ...more

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#277 of 320 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today #53 of 77 The Greatest Chicago Bulls of All Time #5 of 20 Who Are the Biggest NBA Draft Busts This Season?

7
Scott Skiles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Scott Skiles Point guard from La Porte, Indiana

Age: 55

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, ...more

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#678 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #86 of 242 The Best White Players in NBA History #112 of 160 The Greatest Point Guards in NBA History

8
Zach Randolph is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Timothy Hayes added Power forward and Center from Marion, Indiana, United States of America

Age: 38

Number: 50

Teams: Sacramento Kings

2000 - 2001

Zachary McKenley Randolph (born July 16, 1981) is an American professional basketball player who last played for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Nicknamed ...more

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#154 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #61 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #232 of 320 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today

9
Miles Bridges is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Samurai Mike added

Number: 0

Teams: Charlotte Hornets

2016 - 2018

Miles Emmanuel Bridges is an American professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Michigan State ...more

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#117 of 135 The Best Small Forwards of All Time #152 of 320 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today #59 of 92 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today

10
Jason Richardson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Samurai Mike added Shooting guard and Small forward from Saginaw, Michigan

Age: 38

Number: 23

Teams: Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors

1999 - 2001

NCAA Champion (2000)

More Jason Richardson 

#472 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #71 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #58 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

11
Gary Harris is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Timothy Hayes added Shooting guard and Guard from Fall Creek Township, Fishers, Indiana

Age: 25

Number: 14

Teams: Denver Nuggets

2012 - 2014

Gary Harris (born September 14, 1994) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association. He played college ...more

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#459 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #119 of 135 The Best Small Forwards of All Time #86 of 320 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today

12
Greg Kelser is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time

Age: 62

Teams: Indiana Pacers, San Diego Clippers, Seattle Supersonics, Detroit Pistons

1975 - 1979

NCAA Champion (1979)

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#46 of 93 The Best Detroit Pistons of All Time #69 of 94 The Best NBA Players from Florida #12 of 29 The Best Detroit Pistons Small Forwards of All Time

13
Jaren Jackson Jr. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Samurai Mike added

Number: 13

Teams: Memphis Grizzlies

2017 - 2018

Jaren Jackson Jr. is an American professional basketball player for the Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Michigan State ...more
14
Shawn Respert is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Shooting guard from Detroit, Michigan

Age: 47

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks

1990 - 1995

Shawn Christopher Respert (born February 6, 1972) is an American retired professional basketball player who used to be an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball ...more
15
Morris Peterson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
EdKoster added Shooting guard and Small forward from Flint, Michigan

Age: 42

Teams: Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Pelicans

Morris Russell Peterson Jr. (born August 26, 1977) is an American retired professional basketball player. He is also a cousin of former basketball player of the Indiana Pacers and the New York ...more
16
Eric Snow is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Point guard from Canton, Ohio, United States of America

Age: 46

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Seattle Supersonics

1991 - 1995

Eric Snow (born April 5, 1973) is an American retired professional basketball player. Snow played the point guard position in the NBA from 1995 to 2008 and appeared in three NBA Finals. Known ...more

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#474 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #26 of 78 The Best Philadelphia 76ers of All Time #23 of 169 The Best NBA Players from Ohio

17
Kalin Lucas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Kalin Lucas

Age: 30

2007 - 2011

Kalin Jay Lucas (born May 24, 1989) is an American professional basketball player. He played college basketball for Michigan State University.
18
Adreian Payne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Timothy Hayes added Forward from Dayton, Ohio

Age: 28

Number: 5

2010 - 2014

Adreian Payne is a basketball player.
19
Johnny Green is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Power forward and Center from Dayton, Ohio

Age: 86

Teams: Kansas City Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Baltimore Bullets, Cincinnati Royals, San Diego Rockets, + more

1956 - 1959

John M. "Jumpin' Johnny" Green (born December 8, 1933) is an American retired professional basketball player.
20
Sam Vincent is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Point guard from Lansing, Michigan

Age: 56

Teams: Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, Chicago Bulls

1981 - 1985

James Samuel Vincent (born May 18, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball Player and Coach. Vincent won the State of Michigan "Mr. Basketball" award in 1981, the first ...more
21
Drew Neitzel is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Drew Neitzel

Age: 34

2004 - 2008

Drew Neitzel (born May 7, 1985) is an American former professional basketball player.
22
Jay Vincent is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time

Age: 60

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets

1977 - 1981

Jay Fletcher Vincent (born June 10, 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player. A 6'7" forward, Vincent played at Michigan State University under coach, Jud Heathcote, where ...more
23
Shannon Brown is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Coleton_j added Point guard and Shooting guard from USA, Proviso Township, Maywood, Illinois

Age: 34

Number: 26

Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls

2003 - 2006

Shannon Brown (born November 29, 1985) is an American professional basketball player. He attended Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois, was named Illinois Mr. Basketball in 2003, and ...more
24
Nick Ward is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Timothy Hayes added

Teams: Michigan State Spartans

2016 - present

Nick Ward (born September 2, 1997) is an American basketball player for Michigan State University. His 485 points were the second most in a season by a freshman in MSU history, trailing Magic ...more
25
Ralph Simpson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Swingman from Detroit, Michigan

Age: 70

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons

1969 - 1970

Not to be confused with Ralph Sampson, who played in the NBA from 1983 to 1992Ralph Derek Simpson (born August 10, 1949) is a retired American basketball player. He played professionally in the ...more