Michigan Wolverines Basketball: Top 50 Players in School History

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIINovember 8, 2011

Michigan Wolverines Basketball: Top 50 Players in School History

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    A football school, well not exactly. The Michigan Wolverines may have that one national championship in 1989, but they have had a healthy amount of great players pass through Ann Arbor.

    Who is the greatest? That was a difficult assessment. The Fab Five is of course represented, as well as players from the Johnny Orr era.

    Check out the very best of Michigan's basketball performers.

50. Jamal Crawford, 1999-2000 (16.6 ppg, 4.5 apg)

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    Crawford spent only one season in Ann Arbor, but it was pretty impressive; he got drafted eighth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who traded him on draft day to the Chicago Bulls. Crawford is currently an un-restricted free agent, most recently with the Atlanta Hawks

    At Michigan, he averaged 16.6 points and 4.5 assists per game as a freshman.

49. Tim Hardaway, Jr., 2010-Present (13.7 ppg, 1.7 apg)

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    If this ranking is done again at the end of the 2011-2012 season, Hardaway will probably be even higher. The son of NBA legend Tim Hardaway had a very promising season in 2010.

    Hardaway, Jr. averaged 14 points per game in his freshmen season, he has been placed on the 50 To Watch List for the Wooden Award in 2011. Only injury can prevent him from climbing this list.

48. Demetrius Calip, 1987-1991 (9.6 ppg, 2.8 apg)

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    A scorer from Flint, Michigan, Calip was a part of the 1989 national championship team. Calip had his best season the following year, he averaged 20.5 points per game in, that, his senior season.

    Calip had a brief NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

47. Bob Sullivan, 1966-1969 (11.7 ppg 5.5 rpg)

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    A forward from 1965-1969, Sullivan was All-Big-Ten honorable mention in 1969. He is part of the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame.

46. Jim Pitts, 1965-1968 (13.8 ppg 6.2 rpg)

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    Pitts was a good scorer and rebounder for the Wolverines from 1965-1968. Pitts was a solid player for some nondescript Michigan teams during the Dave Strack era.

45. Ken Brady, 1970-73 (12.1 ppg, 9.7 rpg)

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    Brady was a solid post player for the Wolverines from 1970-1973. He did not play on quality teams, but Brady was contributor with high rebound and field goal percentage numbers.

44. Ernie Johnson, 1970-73 (10.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg)

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    A strong rebounder and adequate scorer during the early 1970s. He was apart of one of the most balanced games in Wolverines history.

    Johnson tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds in a game against Notre Dame in 1972, joining three other teammates with double-doubles. It was the only time a Michigan team had four players tally a double-double in the same game.

    Johnson was drafted in the 14th round of the 1973 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, but he didn’t spend anytime in the NBA.

43. Tom Cole, 1960-1963 (13.7 ppg)

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    Cole was a solid scorer and rebounder for some fairly poor Michigan teams. He was team captain during the 1962-63 season, but that team didn’t make the NCAA or NIT tournaments. Cole averaged a double-double in 1962-1963.

42. George Lee, 1956-1959 (15.8 ppg)

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    Another strong scorer and rebounder for the Wolverines, Lee played from 1956-1959. While his teams did not enjoy a myriad of success, he did average 18 points and 12.6 rebounds per game in his final season.

41. Robbie Reed, 1997-1999 (10.7 ppg 3.3 apg)

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    A guard from 1997-1999, Reid was named co-captain in 1998, along with Louis Bullock. Reid only played two years with Michigan, averaging 13.5 points and three assists per game in his final season.

    Reid transferred to Michigan from BYU, after his father was fired as coach there. Reid is 24th all-time is assists, since the year records were kept.

40. Dennis Stewart, 1966-1969 (17.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg)

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    Stewart was a part of the Wolverines teams that missed the NCAA tournament in the late 1960s, but he was still a standout player. He at least averaged 15 points and seven rebounds in each season of his three-year career.

39. Dan Fife, 1968-1971 (12.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg)

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    Fife was the captain and co-MVP of the 1970-71 team. That year, Fife set the record for field goal percentage (.574) and assists per game (5.35), both have since been broken. Dan’s son, Dugan, also went on to attend Michigan and play for the basketball team. 

38. M.C. Burton, 1956-1959 (16.8 ppg)

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    A strong rebounder and scorer for the Wolverines from 1956-1959. Burton became the first player to lead the Big-Ten in scoring and rebounding in 1959, he was all-conference first team that year as well. Burton turned down offers to play in the NBA to pursue a career as a doctor.

    Burton received scholarship offers from many schools. He chose Michigan because they offered him an academic scholarship and a opportunity to attend medical school. He received his medical degree in 1963, he never played in the NBA but was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honor at Michigan in 1988.

37. Lester Abram, 2002-2007 (10.6 ppg, 4 rpg)

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    The first and only three-time team captain in Wolverines history. Abrams followed up a much-ballyhooed prep career with a fairly successful collegiate career.

    A major injury as a junior afforded him the opportunity for a fifth season, in which he became the three-time team captain. He is ranked 26th on the Wolverines all-time scoring list and 10th in career games played.

36. DeShawn Sims, 2006-2010 (12 ppg, 5.5 rpg)

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    A highly sought-after recruit, Sims was a Jordan Brand All-American as well as a fourth-team Parade All-American. He played four seasons in Ann Arbor, finishing ranked 16th in scoring and tied for 12th in rebounding, since the 1958-59 season in school history.

    He was not selected in the 2010 NBA draft and played professionally in Greece this year.

35. Maceo Baston, 1994-1998 (10.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg)

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    Baston was a part of the 1994 recruiting class that included Maurice Taylor, Jerod Ward, Travis Conlin and Willie Mitchell. This class failed to accomplish what the Fab Five class of 1991 did, but Baston had a very solid collegiate career.

    Baston had a decent professional career in the NBA and internationally. At 35 years old and hounded by injuries, he had to leave a team in Israel in January.

34. Bernard Robinson, Jr., 2000-2004 (12.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.0 apg)

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    Robinson helped lead the Wolverines to the 2004 NIT championship. He ranks 19th all-time in points scored and 10th in assists, since records were kept.

    He was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004 and remained in the NBA until 2007. He tore ligaments in his knee in 2007 and was waived by the New Orleans Hornets. Most recently he played in Brazil in 2010.

33. Sean Higgins, 1987-1990 (12.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg)

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    Higgins was part of the 1989 national championship team; he left Michigan after his third season, averaging 14.5 points per game. He was drafted in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs.

    Higgins played six seasons in the NBA. Now he is the founder and CEO of Nine Sports Marketing.

32. Dion Harris, 2003-2007 (12.2 ppg, 3.0 apg)

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    Harris earned team MVP honors twice (2004-05 and 2006-2007) in a dim age for Michigan hoops. Still, he averaged double-figures in scoring in all four years at Ann Arbor.

    He is 13th all-time in points scored and eighth in assists.

31. Maurice Taylor, 1994-1997 (12.9 ppg, 6.0 apg)

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    Taylor was prized recruit from the 1994 class. He made an immediate impact winning Big-Ten Freshman of the Year honors. Taylor played three seasons in Ann Arbor, he is still 24th all-time in rebounds.

    He was selected 14th overall by the LA Clippers in the 2000 NBA draft. His NBA career ended when he was released from the Sacramento Kings in 2007. He played in Italy for the last two years.

30. Manny Harris, 2007-2010 (17.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg)

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    Harris’ given name is Corperryale L'Adorable, and he had a very impressive career at Michigan. Harris was All-Big Ten in all three of his seasons at Ann Arbor. He was also an academic All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore and junior. Harris ranks 10th all-time in scoring and ninth in assists.

    He chose to forego his final season to jump into the NBA draft. He went un-drafted but was signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team he currently plays for.

29. Ray Jackson, 1991-1995 (10.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg)

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    The least successful of the famed Fab Five recruiting class, Jackson was still a very effective player for the Wolverines. He may be the only member of the Fab Five not to have played in the NBA, but he is still the 13th-leading assist man in school history and one of their best all-around players.

28. Eric Turner, 1981-1984 (14.4 ppg, 4.0 apg)

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    Turner was a capable scorer for the Wolverines from 1981-1984. He was team captain for the NIT-championship team in 1984.

    His best year statistically was the prior year, in which he averaged 18 points per game. Turner is sixth all-time at Michigan in assists.

27. Antoine Joubert, 1983-1987 (12.6 ppg, 4.0 apg)

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    Joubert was a talented four-year player at Michigan from 1983-1987. He was present for the rise of Michigan basketball under Bill Frieder.

    Joubert ranks 14th all-time in scoring and third in assists.

26. C.J. Kupec, 1972-1975 (12.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg)

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    After being an Illinois high school basketball legend, Kupec attended Michigan from 1972-1975. He played on two NCAA tournament teams under Johnny Orr and averaged a double-double in 1973-74, followed by 18.0 points per game in 1974-75.

    He was drafted by the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the ABA’s St.Louis Spirits. He had a three-year NBA career before playing 10 years internationally.

    Kupec is 21st all-time in rebounding at Michigan.

25. Jimmy King, 1991-1995 (11.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg)

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    King was a member of the Fab Five recruiting class. He and Ray Jackson were the only ones who stayed all four years in Ann Arbor.

    The Wolverines made the NCAA Tournament all four years King was there. He is 14th all-time in scoring and 11th in assists.

24. Ollie Darden, 1963-1966 (12.3 ppg, 9.0 apg)

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    Darden was one of the best players on teams that many call the greatest era of Michigan basketball. Teamed with Cazzie Russell, Darden and the Wolverines won or shared the Big Ten title each season.

    Darden was captain of the team in 1965-66. He was a solid and consistent player on three very good Wolverine teams. He spent three seasons in the ABA from 1967-1970.

23. Ron Kramer, 1954-1957 (16.9 ppg)

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    Kramer was a great all-around athlete. In addition to basketball, he played football and ran track while at Michigan. He played basketball from 1954-1957 and was a very capable scorer for bad teams.

    At his peak, Kramer averaged 20 points per game in 1955-56. He was an All-Big Ten selection three years in a row.

22. LaVell Blanchard, 1999-2003 (15.8 ppg, 7.0 apg)

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    Blanchard was a three-time team MVP during his four-year career at Michigan. He was a deadly three-point shooter, leading the Big Ten in 2002.

    His teams had little postseason success, but he is one of three players in the top 10 in scoring (sixth) and rebounding (seventh) all-time at Michigan.

21. Robert Traylor, 1995-1998 (13.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg)

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    The late Robert “Tractor” Traylor was part of the Lethal Weapon 3 recruiting class of 1995, along with Louis Bullock and Albert White.

    Traylor helped lead the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament two of his three years at Ann Arbor. He is the 10th-most prolific rebounder in school history. He was a lottery pick in the 1995 NBA draft.

    Traylor passed away this year from an apparent heart attack.

20. Daniel Horton, 2002-2006

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    Horton was an excellent Wolverine during a down time for the program. He won Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2002 and was All-Big Ten from 2003-2006.

    He led the team to the 2004 NIT Championship and was tournament MVP. Horton is second in school history in steals and three-pointers; he is also 12th in scoring and fourth in assists.

    He played briefly in the NBA for the Miami Heat, after going un-drafted in 2006; but he would eventually play internationally.

19. Terry Mills, 1987-1990 (13.8 ppg, 6.0 apg)

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    Mills was the big and versatile forward/center for the Wolverines. Mills was a very effective low-post scorer and rebounder from 1987-1990. He was part of the 1989 national championship team and was drafted in 1990 by the Denver Nuggets. He played 11 NBA seasons, five with the Pistons.

    Mills is 23rd on the all-time scoring list and 15th in rebounding.

18. Phil Hubbard, 1975-1979 (16.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg)

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    Hubbard attended Michigan from 1975-1979. He helped lead the Wolverines to the title game in 1976, and was a consensus All-American in 1977.

    He was the 15th overall selection in 1979 by the Detroit Pistons. He had a 10-year NBA career.

    Hubbard was a prolific scorer and rebounder throughout his Wolverine career. He is 20th in scoring and fourth in rebounding all-time.

17. Roy Tarpley, 1982-1986 (13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg)

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    Tarpley’s arrival symbolized a resurgence to the Michigan basketball program, though he didn’t make an appearance until 1984, his sophomore season. That year, the Wolverines returned to the NCAA tournament.

    Tarpley is ranked 15th all-time leader in scoring and fifth in rebounding at Michigan. 

16. Loy Vaught, 1985-1990 (10.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg)

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    Vaught was a hard-working and consistent star for the Wolverines from 1986-1990. He was part of the 1989 national championship team.

    He averaged a double-double in his final season at Michigan. He finished his Wolverines career as the 21st-ranked scorer and fourth-most prolific rebounder of all-time.

15. Rumeal Robinson, 1987-1990 (14.5 ppg, 5.0 apg)

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    Robinson is most famous for sinking two crucial free throws to win the 1989 NCAA championship, but he actually had a very strong career. He is the 22nd-ranked leading scorer and is second in assists at Michigan.

    He forewent his senior season after averaging 19.4 points per game as a junior. He was the 10th pick overall by the Atlanta Hawks and played for six teams over six seasons before playing in the CBA and internationally.

14. Louis Bullock, 1995-1999 (16.9 ppg, 2.0 apg)

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    Bullock is one of the best point guards in Michigan history. He was a prolific scorer and assist man throughout his time in Ann Arbor.

    Though his Lethal Weapon 3 recruiting class never reached the heights of the Fab Five, Bullock still finished his career as the school's third-leading scorer, while ranking 14th all-time in assists.

    Bullock never played in the NBA, but has played professionally in Europe, since he graduated from Michigan in 1999.

13. John Tidwell, 1958-1961 (20.1 ppg)

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    Tidwell was an excellent high school basketball player who was recruited by several schools. He chose Michigan primarily because of its engineering program.

    He played for the Wolverines from 1958-1961. He holds the single-game (41) and single-season (520) scoring records for the school.

    He would later become a doctor. He is the 24th-most prolific scorer in school history.

12. Rickey Green, 1975-1977 (19.7 ppg, 4.0 apg)

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    The Chicago native is one of the best point guards in school history. He was a junior college transfer from Vincennes College and spent two years in Ann Arbor. Had he spent all four years there, he would almost certainly be higher on this list and on the school’s all-time lists.

    Green led the 1976 Wolverines into the title game, where they lost to undefeated Indiana. The Wolverines were nationally ranked and made the NCAA tournament in every year of Green's career. He went on to have a 14-year NBA career, primarily with the Utah Jazz.

    Green is 19th all-time in assists, despite playing only two seasons.

11. Juwan Howard, 1991-1994 (15.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg)

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    The only member of the Fab Five not from Texas or Michigan, the Chicago native spent three seasons in Ann Arbor. His teams reached at least the Elite Eight in every season. 

    Howard was a great low-post scorer and good rebounder. Howard is 18th all-time in scoring and ninth in rebounding. Howard has enjoyed a long and successful NBA career from 1994 to present.

10. Mike McGee, 1977-1981 (21.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

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    McGee is one of the greatest scorers in Big Ten history. His teams only made the NCAA Tournament once, despite his scoring prowess. He is second all-time in school history.

    McGee played for the Wolverines from 1977-1981. He had a nine-year NBA career, winning two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

9. Bill Buntin, 1962-1965 (21.8 ppg, 13.0 rpg)

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    Buntin was a double-double machine for the Wolverines from 1962-1965. Teamed with Cazzie Russell, the Wolverines reached the Final Four in 1964 and the title game in 1965.

    Buntin was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1965, but suffered a fatal heart attack in 1966, at the age of 26. He has been inducted into the Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor. His number 22 jersey is retired and the annual MVP award at the school is named in his honor.

    Buntin is ninth all-time in scoring and second in rebounding.

8. Henry Wilmore, 1970-1973 (23.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg)

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    The New York native was an explosive scorer. In his three seasons at Michigan, from 1970-1973, he never averaged less than 21.8 points per game. He was All-American in 1972. 

    None of the his teams made the NCAA tournament; but Wilmore was a career scoring average of 23.6 points per game. Wilmore is 11th all-time in scoring and a member of the Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

7. Jalen Rose, 1991-1994 (17.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg)

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    Rose was the 6-foot-8  point guard for the Fab Five recruiting class. He was the vocal and emotional leader of the team. His size and ball-handling ability was a big part of the team’s effectiveness. 

    He played three seasons in Ann Arbor; and the Wolverines reached at least the Elite Eight each year. He set a freshman scoring record averaging 19 points per game. Rose is 12th all-time in scoring and seventh in assists all time.

    Rose had a 13-year NBA career from 1994-2007.

6. Campy Russell, 1972-1974 (21.2 ppg 10.0 rpg)

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    Russell was a big-time scorer and rebounder for the Wolverines in two seasons (1972-1974). He averaged a double-double is his final season, and the team reached the NCAA Tournament.

    Despite playing only two seasons, he still scored over 1,000 points in his college career. Russell played 10 years in the NBA.

5. Gary Grant, 1984-1988 (17.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.0 apg)

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    Grant is the most accomplished point guard in the history of the program. He played from 1984 to 1988, just missing the national championship season in 1989. He is one of only nine players to record a triple-double during the NCAA tournament. 

    Grant is the school's all-time leader in steals and assists and he ranks fourth in scoring. He had a 10-year NBA career, primarily spent with the Los Angeles Clippers.

4. Chris Webber, 1991-1993 (17.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg)

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    Webber is probably the most talented player in the history of the program and a member of the Fab Five recruiting class. The Wolverines reached the NCAA championship game in both of Webber’s seasons in Ann Arbor. 

    Despite playing only two seasons, he is still ranked 14th all-time in rebounds.

3. Rudy Tomjanovich, 1967-1970 (25.1 ppg, 14.0 rpg)

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    Before Rudy T was a championship winning NBA head coach, he was one of the greatest Michigan Wolverines of all-time. He was inducted in the Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor as a dominant scorer and rebounder.

    He attended Michigan from 1967-1970, and ranks seventh all-time scoring and first all-time in rebounds.

2. Cazzie Russell, 1963-1966 (27.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg)

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    Russell’s 27.1 points per game is the highest scoring average in Wolverines history. In 1966, Russell averaged 30.8 points per game and was named the College Basketball Player of the Year.

    The Crisler Arena has been dubbed The House That Cazzie Built, and his number 33 jersey is retired. He raised his scoring average every year from 24.8 to 25.7 and culminating in his 1966 season.

    Had he played four years, he’d easily be the most prolific scorer in school history and possibly NCAA history. As it stands, he is fifth in Michigan history in scoring and 17th in rebounding.

1. Glen Rice, 1985-1989 (18.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg)

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    Rice lead the Wolverines to their only NCAA championship, in what is one of the greatest individual NCAA Tournament runs in history. Rice scored a tournament-record 184 points in the 1989 NCAA Tournament.

    He is the Wolverines' all-time leading scorer, as he attended from 1985-1989. Rice is also sixth in rebounding and 17th in assists. The only player ranked in the top 25 in all three categories in school history.

    That is it.

    The following were used as sources:





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