Michigan Basketball: Ranking the 5 Greatest Shot-Blockers in Wolverines History
Michigan has had a fair share of shot-blockers in their program's illustrious history. The Wolverines have not been short (pardon the pun) on dominating big men with the ability to reject shots and cause havoc in the lane.
What follows in this slideshow is a breakdown of the Wolverine's top-5 shot-blockers (ranked in order of the impact they had while at Michigan) and the legend they left behind. While this is a subjective list, the following swat machines arguably left behind the most indelible impressions in their time at Michigan.
All stats provided by MGOBLUE.COM. Also, block records did not start until 1977.
- Brent Petway
- Maceo Baston
- Josh Asselin
5. Ekpe Udoh
While he did not finish his career in Michigan, Ekpe Udoh still patrolled the rim at an elite level in his days as a Wolverine to be included on this list.
His career 2.37 block average is second in Michigan history. He also had the second most blocks (92, which he recorded in 2007-08) in a season at Michigan, trailing only Roy Tarpley's 97. Udoh is also second (tied with Eric Riley) to Tarpley in the record books for blocks in a game, when he had nine rejections against Army on December 28, 2006.
After transferring to Baylor and playing one season there, Udoh is now entering his fifth season in the NBA with the Bucks after a previous stint with the Warriors. While he is not a gifted scorer (4.4 career NBA scoring average), Udoh is a presence on defense and does have a career block average of 1.3 in the NBA.
Udoh perhaps would be higher on this list, but since he did not end his career with the Wolverines, he drops down a notch.
4. Eric Riley
At a legit 7-feet, Eric Riley is the tallest player on this list, and his length and wingspan proved to troublesome for Michigan opponents when he patrolled the paint.
Although his last two years at Michigan coincided with the arrival of the Fab Five, Riley was an instrumental part of Michigan's success in the early 90s. His 168 career blocks rank fourth in Michigan history as does his 1.25 block average. His 2.79 blocks per game in the 1990-91 season is third on the single-season list, and his nine blocks against Utah on December 1, 1990 is tied for second all time for blocks in a game in Michigan history.
Riley has to be commended for taking a backseat to the Fab Five in his junior and senior years, as he could have been a star anywhere else. Nevertheless, he was a heck of a defensive center and rim protector.
3. Courtney Sims
Although Courtney Sims hasn't had the NBA success others on this list have enjoyed, he was a fantastic human eraser while at Michigan.
Sims is second in total career blocks (213) and fourth in career average (1.60) at Michigan. Although he did not enjoy any team success—never reaching the NCAA tournament—Sims was always a good soldier and played his part on defense.
Again, while he enjoyed no NBA glory or much team success, no one can deny that Sims was one of the better shot-blockers in Wolverine history.
2. Chris Webber
The prized recruit of the infamous Fab Five class and arguably the Wolverine's best-ever NBA product, Chris Webber irreversibly put his name on Michigan's map for his multitude of skills and that includes his swatting abilities.
He was cocky, he had swagger and his play in the paint was absolutely breathtaking. While perhaps more known for his scoring and rebounding prowess, Webber was also a one-of-a-kind shot-blocker.
His 2.50 career block average is still tops in program history. His 84 blocks as a freshman is still a Michigan record among freshman. It should be noted, though, that there is an asterisk next to his name in the record books as a result of his part in the Ed Martin scandal.
Nevertheless, no one can take away the memories of when Webber was a beast in the paint while contesting every shot in the lane in his two years at Michigan.
1. Roy Tarpley
Although, unfortunately, well known for his troubles with substance abuse, there was never questioning Tarpley's talent on the floor and that extends to his shot-blocking abilities.
Tarpley holds the Michigan record for career blocks with 251 and averaged an impressive 2.06 blocks for his career. He also holds the Wolverine's single-game record for rejections, when he recorded 10 blocks against Florida Southern on December 7, 1985, and his 97 blocks in the 1985-86 season is a single-season record as well.
While he did not live up to his full potential in the NBA, Tarpley will forever be remembered for being one of Michigan's most intimidating big men.
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