Tom Izzo’s accomplishments at Michigan State since taking over the program from Jud Heathcote prior to the start of the 1995-96 season are well known.
In his time at the helm, Izzo has racked up seven Big Ten titles, four Big Ten Tournament titles, six Final Four appearances, eight Elite Eight trips and the 2000 national championship in the midst of transforming Michigan State into a national brand.
But as he would be the first to tell anyone, any coach worth his salt owes his success to the pupils he gets to work with on a yearly basis.
While most point to what someone does in the NBA in terms of impact a player has for a program, I’ll focus more on what a player did between the green and white lines of East Lansing, Mich.—with some consideration given to what someone did after leaving Izzo’s program.
For example, four players have earned the distinction of being named Big Ten Player of the Year under Izzo—Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson, Kalin Lucas and Draymond Green. That honor isn’t one to be taken lightly when considering a list like this.
The following list consists of my top five players of the Izzo era (1995-present).