The Top Michigan Players of All Time
In honor of the late Robert "Tractor" Traylor, here is a list of the top Michigan basketball players.
Sadly, the list "features" several players whose careers have essentially been erased because of various scandals that haunted the program for almost a decade.
I don't know if including them in this list is fair to all of those who supposedly "played by the rules," but I included them anyway, not because I believe the discoveries of impropriety were unfair, but because I won't judge what an 18 or 19-year-old does when they're tempted with something they've never had.
So, enjoy or don't enjoy. These players are on the list for what they did on the court.
15. Roy Tarpley
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Tarpley was the inaugural Big Ten Player of the Year in 1985 after averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Wolverines.
His career averages of 13 ppg and eight rbg were lowered significantly by his appearance in 26 games as a freshman, in which he played sparingly.
14. Maurice Taylor
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Another player whose stats have been vacated due to his involvement with Ed Martin, Taylor was a talented player, yet was perceived as an underachiever despite solid overall numbers.
Taylor was Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1994-95 and second team All-Big Ten in 1995-96.
13. Loy Vaught
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Vaught was a late bloomer for Michigan, as his career averages of 11 points and seven rebounds per game belie his actual contributions later in his career, which included personal bests of 15.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game in his senior season.
Vaught also shot 62 percent from the field for his career and was a key part of the Wolverines' championship team in 1989.
12. Rumeal Robinson
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Robinson has the distinction of hitting the two most important free throws in Wolverines’ basketball history. His crucial makes propelled Michigan to a national championship win over Seton Hall.
For his career, Robinson averaged 14 points and 5.7 assists per game.
Sadly, following an all-too-familiar theme, Robinson’s fortunes have changed drastically.
11. Juwan Howard
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Part of the Fab Five, Howard played three seasons at Michigan, becoming a dominant forward by the end of his career.
He averaged 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds for his career and earned third-team All-America honors in 1994.
10. Bennie Oosterbaan
Okay, he played in the 1920s, but check out the bio on this dude.
At various points of his Big Ten career, Oosterbaan was, in no particular order, a Big Ten batting champ in baseball, a Big Ten touchdown leader in football and a Big Ten scoring leader in basketball.
He was selected as a basketball All-American twice and in 2003 was named the fourth greatest athlete in the history of the state of Michigan by Sports Illustrated.
Post-graduation, Oosterbaan coached at Michigan. Yep, the football, baseball and basketball teams.
9. Gary Grant
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“The General” holds more Michigan records than a jukebox, most of which will be his for a long while.
Included in those are career assists, career steals, career starts and career minutes.
Grant was a consensus first-team All-American in 1988.
8. Louis Bullock
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Bullock was another of the players involved in the Ed Martin scandal, meaning his and his team’s accomplishments were essentially voided.
For argument’s sake, though, his numbers don’t lie. His 339 made three-pointers was the Big Ten record prior to this past season. Jon Diebler broke that mark during the year.
His 505 made free throws (at an 87 percent clip) would still be the team record. And, finally, his 2,224 points would be third overall in Wolverine history.
7. Jalen Rose
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Rose was one of the best all-around players the Wolverines have seen.
His career averages of 17.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and just under four assists per game punctuated his ability to both score and distribute, while holding his own as a guard (albeit a big one) on the boards.
As one of the members of the now infamous Fab Five, Rose’s accomplishments have been obscured to some degree. But the man could play.
6. Phil Hubbard
A second-team All-American pick in 1977, Hubbard had previously played for the gold medal-winning United States team in the 1976 Olympics, as well as the Wolverine team that lost to Indiana in the title game in 1976.
Hubbard averaged 16.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for his career, while shooting 54 percent from the field.
5. Chris Webber
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A career 59 percent shooter, Webber was a stats-stuffer in his two seasons at Michigan, averaging 17.4 points, 10 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game.
He, too, however, was involved in the Ed Martin scandal, meaning his statistics aren’t recognized.
His first-team All-American selection in 1993 was stripped when his affiliation (that is, his acceptance of somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 from Martin) was discovered.
Webber is also well-known for calling “The Timeout” in the national championship game against North Carolina, which may or may not have altered the outcome of the game.
4. Bill Buntin
An All-American in both 1964 and 1965, Buntin ranks second all time in rebounds for the Wolverines. His 58 double-doubles is still the school record.
Buntin helped the Wolverines reach consecutive Final Fours, including the title game of 1965 in which Michigan was defeated by UCLA.
Tragically, Buntin died of a heart attack at the age of 26 while playing in a pick-up game.
3. Rudy Tomjanovich
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Still the career leader in rebounds at Michigan with 1,039 in three seasons, Tomjanovich holds some outrageous stat lines for his career.
After a senior season where he averaged 30.1 points and 15.7 rebounds per game, Rudy T was selected as a second-team All-American. No, not a typo, the second team.
For his career, he averaged 25.1 points and 14.4 rebounds and was a first or second team All-Big Ten pick in each of his three full seasons.
2. Glen Rice
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Michigan’s top all-time scorer with 2,442 points, Rice led the Wolverines to the national championship in 1989 by scoring 184 in the NCAA tournament, a record that still stands.
For that season, Rice averaged over 25 points per game, shot 58 percent from the field and made over half of his three-point attempts, numbers that earned him a second-team All-American selection.
For his career, Rice averaged 18.2 points and six rebounds per game, while shooting 57 percent from the field.
1. Cazzie Russell
Russell led Michigan to three consecutive Big Ten titles from 1964 to 1966 and consecutive Final Four appearances in 1964 and 1965.
He was named the National Player of the Year in 1966 after averaging just under 31 points per game and was a two-time first-team All-American (1965-66).
For his career, Russell averaged 27.1 points per game and 8.4 rebounds and was selected first overall in the 1966 NBA draft.
Robert "Tractor" Traylor
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Don't know where the big man stands in terms of all-time greats, but Traylor's impact went far beyond the game of basketball.
We can all hope that Robert Traylor has moved on in peace.