The Wolverine

October 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2020 THE WOLVERINE 31 BY AUSTIN FOX M ichigan basketball began playing during the 1908- 09 season and has boasted two consensus National Players of the Year and earned eight Big Ten Player of the Year titles dur- ing that time. Additionally, a total of 32 standouts have been dubbed All- Americans, 12 of which were awarded the national honor multiple times. So while the school may be more well known nationally for its football program, it has not been lacking for elite performers on the hardwood. Here's The Wolverine's countdown of the top 10 hoops stars in program history. 1. G CAZZIE RUSSELL (1964-66) He is the face of Michigan bas- ketball to many, and Crisler Center is dubbed "The House That Cazzie Built." The three-time All-American and Chicago native led U-M to the highest level of success it had ever reached up to that point, bringing the school three straight Big Ten champi- onships from 1964-66. He also led the Wolverines to 10 NCAA Tournament victories, high- lighted by a trip to the Final Four in 1964 and an appearance in the na- tional title game in 1965. The 800 points Russell scored as a senior in 1965-66 stand as the second most in a single year in school history (Glen Rice's 949 in 1988-89 top the list), while his 2,164 total points still reside as the fifth most ever at U-M. Russell also put together two of the best single-game scoring outbursts in Wolverine history. His 48 points against Northwestern in 1965-66 are tied with Rudy Tomjanovich for the best outing ever, while his 45 points against San Francisco that same year check in third on the program's sin- gle-game scoring list. Following his graduation, Russell became the first overall pick of the New York Knicks in the 1966 NBA Draft. 2. F GLEN RICE (1986-89) He is a Michigan basketball legend, thanks to the way he helped lead the program to the 1989 national champi- onship, its lone title in school history. The 6-7 forward racked up 184 points in U-M's six postseason outings that year, which still stand as an NCAA Tournament record to this day. Rice was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player that year. The Flint, Mich., native averaged 22.1 points per game in 1987-88 and 25.6 in 1988-89, leading the Big Ten in scoring both of those years. He earned second-team All-Amer- ican recognition from the Associated Press as a senior in 1988-89, after shooting 58 percent from the floor and 52 percent from three-point range. Rice's 2,442 career points and the 949 he racked up in 1988-89 are both the most in Michigan history. Though he's primarily remembered for his scoring abilities, his 859 career re- bounds check in sixth on U-M's all- time list. Following his graduation in 1989, the Miami Heat selected Rice with the fourth overall pick in that year's NBA Draft. CREAM OF THE CROP Ranking The 10 Best Players In Michigan Basketball History Three-time All-American guard Cazzie Russell led the Wolverines to three straight Big Ten championships, the Final Four in 1964 and an appearance in the national title game the follow- ing season. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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