Sports

The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time  

Ranker NCAA Basketball
8.7k votes 1.3k voters 23.3k views 48 items

List Rules Upvote the best basketball players in Spartans history based only on the player's college career.

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, Power forward

1977 - 1979

NCAA Champion (1979)

NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1979)

Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is an American retired professional basketball player and former president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers of the ...more

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#24 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #5 of 855 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #2 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

2
Cassius Winston is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
sschmi7 added Guard

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
3
Draymond Green is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Power forward

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

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#223 of 855 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #151 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #62 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

4
Mateen Cleaves is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Point guard, Guard

1996 - 2000

NCAA Champion (2000)

NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (2000)

Mateen Ahmad Cleaves (born September 7, 1977)
5
Shawn Respert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Shooting guard

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
6
Steve Smith is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Shooting guard

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

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#374 of 855 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #61 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History #10 of 32 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 90s

7
Jason Richardson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Samurai Mike added Shooting guard, Small forward

1999 - 2001

NCAA Champion (2000)

Jason Anthoney Richardson (born January 20, 1981) is an American former professional basketball player who played 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Richardson was taken by ...more

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#80 of 150 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #55 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History #163 of 258 The Greatest Offensive Players in NBA History

8
Greg Kelser is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time

1975 - 1979

NCAA Champion (1979)

Gregory Kelser (born September 17, 1957) is a retired American basketball player and current television color commentator. Kelser played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1979 to ...more

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#141 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #45 of 93 The Best Detroit Pistons of All Time #69 of 94 The Best NBA Players from Florida

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

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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#282 of 320 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today #55 of 75 The Greatest Chicago Bulls of All Time #6 of 20 Who Are the Biggest NBA Draft Busts This Season?

10
Scott Skiles is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Scott Skiles Point guard

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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#543 of 855 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #78 of 239 The Best White Players in NBA History #44 of 53 The Best NBA Players Who Played Overseas

11
Morris Peterson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
EdKoster added Shooting guard, Small forward
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
12
Gary Harris is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Timothy Hayes added Shooting guard, Guard

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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#746 of 855 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #47 of 80 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today #151 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

13
Zach Randolph is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Timothy Hayes added Power forward, Center

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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#296 of 855 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #64 of 150 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #34 of 61 The Most Hated Active NBA Players

14
Miles Bridges is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Samurai Mike added Small forward / Power forward

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
15
Eric Snow is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Point guard

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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#574 of 855 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #36 of 73 The Best Philadelphia 76ers of All Time #45 of 139 The Best Cleveland Cavaliers of All Time

16
Jaren Jackson Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Samurai Mike added Power forward / Center

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
17
Shannon Brown is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Coleton_j added Point guard, Shooting guard

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
18
Sam Vincent is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Point guard

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
19
Johnny Green is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Power forward, Center

1956 - 1959

John M. "Jumpin' Johnny" Green (born December 8, 1933) is an American retired professional basketball player.

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#1,772 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #98 of 855 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #26 of 30 The Best Power Forwards of the '60s

20
Adreian Payne is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Timothy Hayes added Forward

2010 - 2014

Adreian Payne is a basketball player.
21
Kalin Lucas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Kalin Lucas

2007 - 2011

Kalin Jay Lucas (born May 24, 1989) is an American professional basketball player. He played college basketball for Michigan State University.
22
Jay Vincent is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time

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
Drew Neitzel is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Drew Neitzel

2004 - 2008

Drew Neitzel (born May 7, 1985) is an American former professional basketball player.
24
Ralph Simpson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Swingman

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
25
Antonio Smith is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Michigan State Basketball Players of All Time
Antonio Smith

1995 - 1999